Bastard Of The Skies – Tarnation

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Review by Chop

Those not in possession of the band’s split EP with Catatomic have had a two year wait (since the release of Ichor! Ichor!) for new material from Blackburn’s Bastard Of The Skies. So, for their third album, is it a case of more of the same, or a departure to fresh domains?

The simple answer is yes and no. Their sludge and doom roots are still retained, yet this album demonstrates a clear change of style, immediately flagged up by the far rawer production. They’re still down-tuned and massively heavy, but throughout this new work the tracks are slower, more atmospheric, yet more structured and dynamic at the same time. Put simply, it’s far less direct than its predecessors, yet ultimately more rewarding.

Fans familiar with their first two albums will need to display a degree of patience. Something tells me that this is a repeated play, don’t dismiss too quickly opus. Previously the heaviness has been much more in your face, whereas here the malevolence is more implied, almost in an atmospheric or post black metal fashion. At times this definitely falls into the sinister or unsettling category, being far starker and bleaker than anything they’ve released before.

Highlight of the album for me is the epic closer, which clocks in at a smidge under eleven minutes. Could this be the shape of things to come I wonder? If so album four can’t come quickly enough! Curiously the title track is a short instrumental which to my mind raises far more questions than it answers. Overall though it’s a solid album with way more positives than negatives.

How this works live, I suspect, will be the acid test. If past shows are anything to go by, I can only see this being a resounding success. You can judge for yourselves at the Sirius doom all-dayer in November where I’m sure they’ll acquit themselves well. I like this album a lot, so why have I scored it as I have? Purely as a reflection that many may give up on it too soon and not give this album the attention it deserves. When it does click the evil grin that spreads across your face is really satisfying. Much as you wouldn’t drink a claret straight out of the bottle, Tarnation too needs time to breathe before yielding its true character.

7 out of 10

Tarnation is released on 1/10/2012 on Future Noise Recordings

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Track listing;
1.   Drug Monarch
2.   A Punch In the Fucking Lungs
3.   (Roasted In the Depths Of The) Sloar
4.   Bastard Sabbath
5.   Tarnation
6.   Repugnance
7.   Bookatee Willalee
8.   Locklear
9.   Snapmare
10. What Are You Looking At Dicknose?