France is no stranger to the metal scene. Gojira and Gorod are two household names that have burst forth from the twisted sonic shrapnel Swedish legends Meshuggah left in their wake. On the North American side of the pond the Québec natives Gorguts have become a defining band for the technical metal sub-genre, and have further solidified precision, technique, abrasive vocals, poly-rhythmic elements, drama and intense sonic weight as defining markers of French extreme death metal.
Enter Barús (Grenoble, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France). Their eponymous 2016 EP plunged them headfirst into the searing cauldron of molten French metal, and although the 2018 album is entitled Drowned, they did not do so whilst bubbling about in the pool of their predecessors. They have emerged with a galvanised immensity that leaves the listener entranced in Barús’s sound and vision. The album is utterly pulverising from start to finish, but shimmers with a sense of pristine execution that Jean-Philippe Rameau would praise if he could be raised from the dead. ‘Engorge’ exemplifies this interesting dichotomy that Barús has created by juxtaposing heavy, technical, riff-laden passage work with a relaxed, but dramatic, atmospheric moment of respite before unleashing another volley of sonic weight. The following track, ‘Amass’, brilliantly expands on the ethereal break leaving the listener in a state of limbo until they are thrust back into the boiling barrage of ‘Dissever’.
The overall soundscape that Barús has created in Drowned is one that rivals the latest trendsetters of the newest wave of death metal acts, especially Ontario, Canada’s Tomb Mold. It bristles, soothes, and invigorates the listener. Bearing that in mind, the disciples of the French arbiters of metal will adore this offering and its intoxicating sonic display of power and grace.
Drowned is available now and can be purchased here.
Words: Garrett Tanner