AN NCS SPLIT PREMIERE (AND A REVIEW): BARSHASKETH AND OUTRE — “SEIN ZEIT”
At this site we don’t often publicize mere announcements of new releases without accompanying music, but a few weeks ago I did because the announcement got me so excited that I couldn’t resist. The subject was a forthcoming split by Barshasketh (formerly based in New Zealand, now located in Edinburgh, Scotland) and the Polish band Outre. Entitled Sein / Zeit, the split is scheduled for released on November 27th by Third Eye Temple and Blut & Eisen Productions.
Both of these bands have released some stunningly good music in the past, and that alone would have been reason enough to cause excitement about this split, but the conceptual focus of the music described in the announcement made the prospect even more intriguing. And now we’ve heard the split — and today you may do the same — and it is every bit as exciting as we thought it might be.
In the conception of the split the bands took inspiration from the 1927 book Sein & Zeit (“Being and Time”) by the influential German philosopher Martin Heidegger. I haven’t read the book, and so I’ll provide this description of its themes, which accompanied the announcement of the split about a month ago:
This seminal philosophical text, which attempts to get to grips with the meaning of being, provides the basis for an exploration of fundamental questions that underpin our understanding of human existence, with each band taking one of the two main themes.
SEIN (Barshasketh) concerns creating one’s own purpose in a world without any objective truth or meaning. It deals with the process of pushing further and further inward to discover true will, sacrificing solace and unnecessary comforts along the way. As with all Barshasketh material, there is an element of facing and mastering darker aspects of the self in order to strengthen the spirit. The concept of Sein is that after facing such parts of the self, and pushing further introspectively beyond return, true will and purpose will be discovered.
ZEIT (Outre) The now, the past and the future are all one. We exist in one consolidated frame of past events and future points that are about to become. Our being is expressed throught the time that flows through us. No one was and no one shall be. We are temporary. As the being. As the time.
In their musical exploration of these subjects, the two bands have created sounds and sensations that complement each other.
As children, most of us found a peculiar pleasure in spinning ourselves around faster and faster, cackling with glee, until we became too dizzy to stand and fell over, still laughing. As adults, music like this might have a similar effect — it’s so dizzying and dazzling that the mind whirls with the experience and becomes caught up in the fierce joy of its madness.
Photo by Liadh Ní Chéilleachair
The sound of strings and timpani, pierced by abrasive noises, provides an ominous and mysterious introduction to Barshasketh’s lone track on this split, “Being“, but without warning the music explodes in a typhoon of blasting drums, a blizzard of swirling chords, and an effusion of strangled, mind-mangling shrieks. The melody that moves in waves through this storm seems to be a mixture of wildness and majesty.
Barshasketh then abruptly make a course change, shifting into an off-kilter, swinging rhythm, with pulsating strummed chords replacing the blizzard-like whirr, and then the rhythm section hits a rocking groove segmented by bursts of percussive machine-gun fire. When the drummer shifts again into blasting assault mode, the music surges into a crescendo of delirium and fire, fury and grandeur. After that adrenaline-triggering climax, when the drums disappear, the guitar melody becomes an expression of grief and gloom.
There are two Outre tracks on the split, and the first of those is their rendition of “Time“. It is a racing conflagration right out of the gate, a flurry of furious drumming and gales of guitar intensity — dervish-like whirls of insanity and rising fanfares of unchained ecstasy. There are shifts into head-nodding drum groove and swirls of incandescent melody rising over a big, gravel-toned bass pulse, and the intensity of the experience is pushed even further into the red zone by vocalist TMK’s serrated growls and larynx-shredding cries of wrenching pain.
Maybe it’s just me, but “Time” sounds like a wild dance. And something of the same vision comes through in Outre’s second track on the split, which is a cover of a song called “Only True Believers” by the Swedish black metal band Armagedda. There’s a punk verve to this particular dance, with rhythms that move between cantering gallops and fast rocking grooves. The riffing is fiery, with a catchy, pulsing, head-nodding quality, and there’s a rushing freight-train of a riff following a bridge that’s maybe even more pulse-pounding, plus a crazed, flame-throwing solo to send the listener off at the end.
So, yes, this split will send your head spinning and bring your blood to a boil. But as fiery and ferocious as the music is, and notwithstanding the terrorizing intensity of the vocal performances, I still found it to be exuberant and exultant, and a whole hell of a lot of fun to listen to.
Details about the recordings are below, along with pre-order and social media links. Enjoy.
Barshasketh’s track was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus Studio, with the vocals recorded by Luka Matkovic at Citadela Sound Production Studios in Belgrade. Outre’s tracks were recorded, mixed, and mastered at No Solace Studio. The cover and layout were created by Mentalporn, and Ihasan Art is responsible for the album title calligraphy.
Whoa. I really enjoyed all of that, but the Barshasketh track specifically just absolutely rips. I’d never heard of them before, I’ll have to look into them more.