I enjoyed 2015’s self-titled EP, as well as 2018’s Drowned, so when it appeared Fanges was always destined for my playlists. Although billed as an EP, there’s actually an album’s worth of material for some bands here – 34-minutes spread out over two large tracks. Barús play atmospheric death metal with progressive and dissonant elements, and on Fanges they range wider and more freely than they have done before.
The first track lasts 19 minutes and is the title track. This song builds atmosphere gradually, and allows the band to explore waters that they don’t typically wade in. The music is layered and textured. It is an experimental piece of sorts, building expressive space into a sprawling soundscape of minimalistic doom and ambient grace. Sludge and post-metal influences are readily apparent in the music’s build/release mechanics, which help the song wax and wane through various movements as it progresses. It’s not without its heaviness, but this is very much a mood-based work that seeks to crush with atmospheric weight. The song builds to a thunderous crawl, before ending itself with post-rock introspection.
The second and final song is named Châssis de Chair and has a duration of 15 minutes. In many ways Châssis de Chair is the mirror of the proceeding track; raging where Fanges was calm, aggressive where the other was moody. Whereas the first track on this release was pieced together slowly over time, this second one was recorded live in one take, showcasing the band’s more immediate and intense aspects. You can hear the death metal in Barús’ sound appear once more here. A snarling, dissonant beast that still cares about atmosphere, but now also cares about ripping your throat out.
Although different in character and execution, both songs share features that tie them together.
Fanges is a creative and intelligent release from a very interesting and skilled band. I can’t wait to hear what Barús’ next full-length album will bring, but I’m glad that until it arrives I’ll have Fanges to enjoy and explore.
Very highly recommended.