• Perfect fusion of old and new elements - A review of B.A.R.F.'s ''Brûle consume torture''

    B.A.R.F. - Brûle consume torture (2014)

    Blasting All Rotten Fuckers in one of Quebec's most legendary extreme metal bands. The band played a ferocious mixture somewhere between grindcore, hardcore punk and crossover thrash metal in the nineties and released four pitiless studio records that have acquired a cult status in Quebec's extreme metal scene and which are tough to find nowadays. The band split up in the late nineties, reunited briefly five years later and came back for good five years ago. "Brûle consume torture" is the group's first studio record in sixteen years and offers something old and something new.

    Despite a few line-up changes, the band is as aggressive as in its early years. Marc Vaillancourt's charismatic hoarse vocals are as intense as usual and the rebellious lyrics still criticize everything that is wrong with our contemporary society. The rhythm section is still tearing heads off in the faster passages but sounds more diversified, dominant and technical than before. The guitar play has also become cleverer and offers technical groove metal inspirations, hypnotizing and slow melodies and even mysterious breaks with acoustic guitars along with the elevated number of fast-paced riffs in the key of the early years. While the band's legendary debut album included twenty-nine songs for a total length of forty-five minutes, the new release is even one minute longer but only includes thirteen tracks. This is an indicator that the band isn't back to offer more of the same to its underground fan base but wants to try out new things and expand its musical horizons.

    Two songs really stick out in terms of experimentation on this highly entertaining effort. The melancholic and numbing "Leader" sounds like a dystopian progressive death metal song with dominant bass vibes, hypnotizing guitar sounds, technical yet smooth drumming and an experimental song structure in far over five minutes that even includes an acoustic guitar break. This song features a multitude of creative ideas, has a clear guiding line and profound atmosphere and might be both the most ambitious and the best song the band has ever written. "Whiskey" is an acoustic drinking song that works really well in concert and shows us a surprisingly light-hearted side of a usually very serious band. This outstanding tune rather reminds me of folk rock bands with slight punk influences like Bodh'aktan, Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly.

    Those who are scared that the band is selling out now, losing its identity and forgetting about its faithful fan base are wrong since this album still includes the band's trademarks of the early years. "Chialer" features angry bumblebee bass guitar sounds, brutally low riffs and pitiless blastbeat passages that sound as juvenile as if the musicians were still in their early twenties. The pissed main vocals are supported by ferocious gang shouts and you sure don't want to face these four angry pitbulls alone at night. "Èternelle" might have some groovier riffs and feature some sinister female guest vocals but the song is still incredibly brutal and convinces both in its menacing mid-tempo parts and its efficiently employed up-tempo explosions. Instead of offering a beauty and the beast, this great song unleashes two abominable beasts that push each other in their unchained anger.

    In the end, B.A.R.F. finds the perfect mixture of old and new elements and walks this thin path confidently. The band still has the angry spirit of yore but has fusioned its charismatic trademarks with a more mature attitude and a more experimental song writing approach. Instead of blasting twenty-nine pitiless grindcore tunes below the two-minute mark, the group blends in a few experimental tracks covering new grounds that make the more aggressive songs even more brutal and efficient. B.A.R.F. has never sounded better than this and it's great to have Quebec's underground extreme metal legends back in full strength.

    Final rating: 85%

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