Death Metal is in rude health. It is a status that has been brewing and broiling over the last ten years, with pushes and spurts in pocketed sub-sub genres, until now the whole scene, and its multitude of variants and mutations and off-shoots, feels like it is not just doing alright, but burgeoning with a lush virility unseen since it’s fomentation some thirty years ago.
There is an abundance of choice, an abundance of style, and most important, quality within each of those appendages, which is, it has to be said, great for the listener, both casual and connoisseur alike. It is, though, a potential double-edged sword for the artist. There is plenty to enthuse and inspire, and aspire to, but there is also plenty of competition and success requires the carving of a niche.
So, who or what is the Danish Death Metal faction Baest in 2021? Having quickly established themselves a stellar reputation with two impressive statements in quick succession, the prolific brutes have wasted little time in serving up their latest and perhaps, defining album Necro Sapiens (Century Media). Album three… this is vomit or get off the pot time, surely?
Opening with the single most pointless intro track in a universe already overflowing with absolutely pointless intro tracks, Baest very quickly redeems themselves with ‘Genesis’, a juddering behemoth that, like the window of a major fashion store, sets out the best of what is to come for the rest of the album. Baest are masters of the mid-tempo, and woven into ‘Genesis’ is some bright, ear-catching solo work, some (but not too much, and not too distractingly for the sake of it) technical Death Metal hooks and snares, and an imposing set of coherent and powerful growls from vocal commander Simon Olsen, reminiscent of Domination (Earache) era Dave Vincent (more of that to come).
All of that flows through and serves to prepare you for a highly professional, well-crafted album where care and attention has been put into ensuring each track has something to set it apart from its companions; be that riff, or tempo-variant, or melody, or vocal hook, or the occasional bit of naughty speeding. Baest seems aware that their sweet-spot is in being excellent technicians able to produce quick familiarity within the confines of a heavy song – while not quite ear-worm territory, there is enough by way dexterity and options within each track to keep the interest, even if they may be better served with a touch of self-editing (there are no short and sharp shrapnel shards here…), a bit more impetus and fire at points, and a touch more dirt in the production. All that said, though I have no doubt the added barbs will be present live and Baest will be a killing machine on the road.
Perhaps some of the easy familiarity comes from them wading through where the slime lives on several occasions, most notably on ‘Czar’ and standout track of the album ‘Goregasm’ (even though I can’t bring myself to do anything other than cringe at the song-title), and there are regular comparisons to mid and late 90’s Morbid Angel (which is no bad thing) throughout. Yet Necro Sapiens, and Baest as a whole, is its own entity. There is sufficient character, identity, definition, and quality to enable their ‘Sea of Vomit’ to be a worthwhile addition to the Death Metal ocean.
Buy the album here: https://baest.lnk.to/NecroSapiensID
7 / 10