Review – Black Goat / Bastärd: Descend from Blackened Skies to Spread the Words of Satan

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  • Bio: n/a
  • Label: From the Dark Past Records
  • Release Date: January 10th, 2016
  • Genre: Black Metal, Thrash Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

When it comes to Bandcamp, it has become a hive for underground limited run cassette releases for various metal bands and labels. This is the case for the recent split between Russia’s own Black Goat, who formed in 2006 and has a lengthy discography in their wake, and Bastärd, a relatively new project with only two demos to their name. Issued through From the Dark Past, this two song tape is not featured with the option to buy it digitally, making it something either for serious collectors, or lovers of either band involved to lay the cold hard currency down to own. But does the experience of the former greatly trump the fresh blood of the latter act, or does it end up the other way around?

First up on the split is “Nosferatu” by the now three-piece Russian black/thrash metal horde Bastärd, and what a track it is. What immediately comes to mind are melodic landscapes similar to October 31, grandeur on par with Iron Maiden, all laced with a modern first wave black metal Darkthrone touch. It’s grim, cold, and within one song leaves your jaw dropped on the floor. The raw nature works wonders for the already powerful performance of a band that sounds as though they’ve been in existence in the cold plateu’s of Norway since the eighties, presenting one of the tightest contributions to grace such an underground split that I’ve come across in quite a while.

Black Goat‘s contribution, however, not only comes from their three song 2015 demo, but is pretty much garbage. The introduction on this composition sounds amateurish, as if run through a cheap plastic speaker for twenty seconds before finally adding drums and a dulled distortion meant to be sharp to the mix. By forty-five seconds the song finally picks up with blast beats and a hellish analog presence from the aforementioned distortion, but on a song just under two minutes, it’s just too late. “Deathterror” leaves absolutely nothing positive behind to be said about the band. Even when things pick up, it still sounds incredibly weak, lifeless, and definitely not from a long running/established act such as this one. When the modern Deiphago-eque intensity (for lack of another comparison) does kick in, it would be easy enough to see this band work with labels like Nuclear War Now! Productions or Hell’s Headbangers. However, even though this may sound like a shot at those labels (which it isn’t, so please don’t take it that way), I’m pretty sure that even they would turn the band away after hearing how little effort was clearly put into this cut.

It’s an absolute shame that Black Goat chose this song to include on the split, as it effectively ruins the overall experience in contrast to the superb quality that is “Nosferatu” from Bastärd. It’s like checking out your all time favorite band’s live set at Wacken Open Air, only to have some high school kid with six months of guitar practice under his belt pull up a chair center stage and play against something poorly pre-recorded and have an “I’m a rock star!” attitude to the crowd when they start to boo. I’ve never heard Black Goat‘s material before, but this buzz killing cut is enough to make this reviewer immediately not want to seek out anything further from them. The limited edition cassette cost me about eleven dollars US through Bandcamp just now, and while it’s only good for some song, this is the definition of quality over quantity. It’s just sad that only one band seemed to take this seriously, leaving the final score greatly hindered by two prople who clearly sound like they couldn’t be bothered.

Digital review copy of this release provided by personal funds.