Hats Barn

France has a dark history. Uprisings, wars, and more wars; have left the countryside pockmarked with craters, and flowers grow in the places where blood had been spilled. It makes sense that France has a solid Black Metal history steeped in that revolutionary blood. Deathspell Omega, Mutiilation, Aldaaron, and the infamous Black Legions; forged a sound that struck into the heart of the Norwegian Black Metal scene and thusly the rest of the world.

Hats Barn has been in existence since 2005, coming out of the darkness of Lille, Hauts-de France they unleashed the Total Genocide Devastation demo followed by a split and a compilation album. Playing in a style very similar to fellow Frenchmen Ad Hominem, raw with a nice side of low-end bass. It is the “opening-Ten Psalms of Death and Khaos” that lowers a cloud of French darkness upon one’s listening device, followed by “Baal-Zebub”, “Y.H.W.H” and “In Nomine Leprosy” which are blazing, traditional Black Metal songs.

Those tracks fly by though, and it isn’t until “Under the Pillars of Death” that they reign in the hellfire and spawn a lumbering, tortured beast that continues to devastate through “Total Death Kult”. The production is raw, not four guys in a basement with a four-tracker raw, but it is an Osmose release, so it has enough guts to sound full of rage.

At the beginning of this review, I name-dropped a handful of legendary French bands, however a name I didn’t mention was Mayhem (probably because they’re fucking Norwegian, and Hats Barn are French), but I should have; because the feel of this album is like what they created in the early years of the scene. It is “Que le Sang Coule dans les Fleuves” and “The Man Returns to Dust” that close the ritual that is Y.a.HW.e.H, an album that I liked; don’t get me wrong, there’s much to like about this release. What it is, and what it wants to be are two different things, and that’s what keeps me from loving it. But if this pulls your tentacles then I can only say check it out and revel in Hats Barn’s Satanic lunacy.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jeremy Beck
August 24th, 2022


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