barishiBarishi as a band were completely new to me before I listened to this album, their second full release. In case you’re like me and didn’t know about them, they’re from the USA, and describe their style as “gritty progressive metal” or “dark modern metal”, depending on which source you look at.

What struck me immediately was how compact their sound is. “Grave of the Creator” moves and finds a punchy groove, which presses deeper into the soul. There are shades of Agalloch, older Omnium Gatherum and maybe Daylight Dies there. “Grave of the Creator” is a good piece of hard-hitting and structured metal. That’s where the following title track is too. It’s harsher with a post-metal shape but as it chugs along, there’s a metalcore emotion coming out of the vocals. In summary it’s an expansive track with a solid backbone – interesting. Experimental patterns come to the fore on the solid and powerful “The Great Ennead”. There’s a lot going on. I liked what I heard, and as the album progresses, it continued to delight. “Death Moves in Silence” transforms fluidly from a magnetic juicy little rhythm to a powerful and majestic number without losing any of the subtlety – it’s a wonderfully refreshing song.

From refreshment to church bells … ‘Master Crossroads, Baron Cemetery” takes us to the obscurer side. The tones are harsher, the vocals are growlier and it’s altogether darker. It’s all in keeping, and the mix of subtle irregularity and majestic inserts maintain the all-powerful atmosphere, which Barishi are evidently so good at creating. This is an album, which can be absorbed but is better listened to carefully. “Bonesetter” takes the listener by surprise, not for the first time, with its introduction featuring a hubbub of vocal sound distortions. Another thing I like about the structures is that while the mood changes, as here, to a harshly progressive – let’s call it grittily progressive – it’s not a random cutover as the initial mood lingers and is overlaid with the next stage of the song. So there’s never a loss of continuity and my association with the initial sound structures remains alive, which in turn leaves me more alive to the song. So many bands don’t do this and I’m suddenly expected to engage with a song or track from nothing. “The Deep” is the longest track at nine minutes. A solid start takes us into a colourful instrumental passage, and a dreamy mood follows, but by comparison with its more inventive and multi-layered predecessors, “The Deep” was a little bland. The album finishes with a difficult track “The Spectral Order”. Blending subtle progressive patterns with harshness, Barishi take charge and bring the album to a powerful end.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to “Blood from the Lion’s Mouth” and know that it’s one of those I could continue to listen to and revel in each time. The flavours are abundant, and the result is one of the musically rich albums I’ve heard in quite a while.

(8.5/10 Andrew Doherty)