With a thick, heavy sound, Barbarian Hermit explode out of the speakers with big riffs and a forceful presence. No messing around, no stupid intros, just straight into the good stuff. Just as I like it.
If you haven’t encountered this band before then an easy starting point would be to think of a cross between High on Fire and Orange Goblin, although this is only just a starting point, as I say. There’s also a pinch of something darker and nastier in the Barbarian hermit brew as well, (think of a band like Tides of Sulfur), along with something quite expressive that leaks through now and again – as odd as it might sound, I swear I hear an Enslaved influence here and there in some of the riffs…it’s rare, but still…
The songs are bold, brash, and crushing, but not without nuance or unexpected beauty of a sort. As heavy and belligerent as the band undoubtedly are for large chunks of time, with colossal riffs, throaty, deep roars and rough semi-clean bellowing, they undeniably have a knack for including emotive sections that tie in with cleaner vocals too. As well as the massive sludge riffs and general heaviosity, the band also veer into lighter stoner rock territories. These latter elements are mainly where the stoner aspects of the band’s sound take over from the sludge ones more, but both sides of the Barbarian hermit sound enhance each other.
Overall there’s a good variety of moods, paces, and delivery across these seven tracks, as well as some good ideas and creativity shown across the full playing time. Lasting 49 minutes in total, this album has enough meat to satisfy, but keeps you returning for more due to how damn good it tastes.
Solitude and Savagery is a incredibly strong debut album. I have been following this band since catching them live some time ago and really enjoyed their 2016 demo. However, I wasn’t expecting the progression I’ve seen on this album, and Barbarian Hermit Have firmly blown me away with their first full length release.