Although we’ve met the mysterious entity that is Barús before on 2015’s self-titled EP, I’ve only just recently been privileged enough to listen to Drowned, despite it being released in 2018. Well, I’ve missed out, and I can’t help but feel that Drowned would have graced my end of year list for 2018.
The progressive death metal that Barús play primarily concentrates on dense atmosphere over all else. Although the album does have multiple tools in its toolbox, it seems fair to characterise it overall as slow, atmospheric, and malevolent.
Doom and sludge elements can be heard in the band’s music, bringing real weight to the guitars. A blackened sheen can be felt too, which seems to rise up out of the music almost as a secondary consideration, as if it can’t help being conjured by the sheer darkness that Barús have created. There’s a modern influence from bands like Meshuggah and Gojira, although these are not overtly referenced, and seem to just add a certain power to some of the riffs. Finally, we get a good portion of dissonant death metal – think of a band like Ulcerate, for example.
All of the above is fused together with skill by the band, who craft their song structures like they’re working with living flesh, sculpting a twisting, writhing mass of organic material into something…unexpected, something…other. Drowned is the end result.
This album is complex and imposing, yet it’s also surprisingly emotive and powerful. Drowned demands your time and attention, and deserves it too. Persistence is rewarded, as Barús have written and delivered an impressive album here.
Very highly recommended.