After supporting Sikth and My Ruin many moons ago Barrabus are back to release their début self-titled album Barrabus (Undergroove). For the sake of argument we’ll call it a comeback, but by the band’s own admission they never really got started in the first place. But, as you will read, thank the god of riffs that they have decided to be a band again.
This is one of the more unpredictable listens you will have all year, there is nothing quite like this band around at the moment, so many styles and ideas are explored in just one song it’s hard to actually put your finger on what you just heard.
The vocal performance by Paul Catten is outstanding throughout with his discordant noise ranging from Mike Patton-esque screaming to a style akin to Brent Hinds from Mastodon. On opening track ‘TV Contestant’ the vocals are particularly schizo and there is even a smattering of cackling in the background which on some releases would seem out of place but here is in total harmony with the album’s tone and feel.
The riffing is also of a very high standard with Mark Sneddon able to match the variety in the vocals with low down dirty sludgy riffs that bring to mind a band like Clutch to angular pieces reminiscent of Every Time I Die. The rhythm section also comes through and plays their part always offering something different and not just matching the guitar work. Check out the closing track ‘The End’ to see how the band thrives as one cohesive unit.
There are ear-worms all over the album just waiting to fester inside your unprepared brains, tracks ‘Porn!’, ‘Merrick’ and ‘Master of Disguise’ are all the work of some unhinged madness that in lesser hands would surely fall apart. Somehow though the quality never dips and the intensity of the band never wavers.
This is without doubt of the best albums of the year and Barrabus NEED to be heard to fully appreciate the uniqueness that they have created here. It is at once an avant-garde masterpiece and then in the same breath a catchy alt-rock behemoth with metal touches that bring a real dose of heaviness