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I’ve been listening to a lot of black metal lately and I’ve noticed two things: A lot of it sounds the same, and the stuff I like—for whatever unknown reason—tends to be thematic in nature, exploring some arcane occult philosophical concept, for instance. Barhasketh’s upcoming release, Ophidian Henosis, hits enough of my soft spots to get me excited in a way that most black metal doesn’t.

“Ophidia” is a classification of reptiles that includes modern snakes. “Henosis” is an ancient Greek word meaning “oneness” or “unity,” so there’s your theme. It’s very second-wave BM influenced, with extensive use of layering and hidden waves of sound and energy that only reveal themselves to those who pay attention. I also like that the song titles are simply numbered. It’s the plain black t-shirt of the black metal world—when a band is truly allowing the music to speak, there’s no need to title their songs in order to prove that each is more Satanic than all the rest.

Barshasketh, originally from New Zealand, relocated to Scotland some time ago. The band formed in 2007 as a solo project by Krigeist but is now a four-piece on this, their third album. The song that we present here, “IV,” explodes into a 6-minute piece that is a good representation of the speed and raw beauty on the album. One thing this track doesn’t offer is the headbanging moments of some of the other mid-tempo songs. But you’ll have to get the album so you can hear those for yourself.

— Vanessa Salvia

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Ophidian Henosis drops July 30 via Blut & Eisen Productions. Follow Barshasketh on Facebook.

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