This Italian band by their own admission are obsessed with Celtic Frost and raw 80’s metal in general, even the PR spiel has you believing this, so it is justified? Whilst there are some similarities to the acclaimed Swiss band, like on ‘Total Metal’. Although I myself find Barbarian leaning more towards the blackened thrash arena of modern day Desaster, Toxic Holocaust and some of the Australian bands active over the last decade or so. Make no bones about it, Barbarian are not intent on setting new trends, they are very much comfortable in the shoes of the forefathers of this genre, but I do feel it loses a touch of soul here and there, maybe a touch forced. The music and arrangements are to their credit thoroughly terrifying in places and the melodic guitar parts that creep in every once in a while fill in the gaps where necessary.
‘Crux et Circenses’ is rather appealing as this changes the mood more, much more than the release does overall in fact because it is much more doomier, but I am sure the inclusion of early Maiden licks will please most of you I am sure and they can be found more so or rather they are more prevalent on the track ‘Fools of Golgotha’. On ‘Crux et Circenses’ you may also find yourself comparing a guitar riff to that from Metallica’s ‘Kill ‘em All’ album, but of a much slower tempo, that maybe my mind working in strange mode, but that’s what I recall when I hear this around the three minute mark.
There are so many clichés writers could use with this band, but I will not, its straight to the point, very simple and rather primitive. One thing I do find though is that the lack of guitar sustain sometimes hampers the experience, this could make the tunes much more expansive, but then again, I am not the artist and it is their tribute they are playing.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this effort per-say, it’s not very ground-breaking, it is quite raw but does suffer slight modernisation of some sounds. But that said, you should enjoy this ride for what it is and add to your collection of bands brandishing this style of primitive edgy apocalyptic madness…have you got your bullet belt ready?
(7/10 Paul Maddison)