Barbarian Hermit EP Review
A droplet in an ocean causes ripples to fan outwards, expanding further and further, covering an circumference that grows as time goes on. But at the MMC Barbarian Hermit’s set – as short and sweet as everybody else’s – saw them drop a cannonball into a fucking pond. Today those ripples – although more tidal in transit – are still in their feisty motion and it seems this EP, the musical fruits of their labour, is glued to everyone’s CD player, iPod, or whatever else they can blare the damn thing on.
Barbarian Hermit are a unique band which has the audacity to make the gruesome, minor tone drones of doom metal fun and oddly raunchy. Their new EP, first made available at that liver-smashing MMC weekender last month, is the perfect crash course in an act who’s stock has now sky-rocketed.
Opener Mermaid, massive and earth shattering though it may be, finds it true charm in its broad dynamism and mutli-dimensional aesthetics. This isn’t just a doom record, but smatterings of honey drenched harmonies and a mood which, like a bi-polar in meltdown, fluctuates between miserably oppressed and ecstatically buoyant in an instant.
It flows beautifully into Tigherhorse, with its downtrodden, slowed-down Sabbath grooves leading the way; again flavoured dramatically from harmonies which are always strateigically placed and never over-indulged. With a brilliant use of dynamics, they drop seductively for vocalist Si’s holler of ‘with a thousand yards stare, and ghostly eyes,’ it crescendos like a money shot, right between the eyes. The solo resembles the sound of a stoned wasp having a freak out and in the best possible way.
From the outside looking in, as time dragged its incessant self ever closer to the MMC Weekender, this EP may have seemed somewhat scrambled together. Bassist Chris Wood undertook the laborious task of burning every single copy and assembling the disc and cover into plastic sleeves and indeed, while it may very well be the rawest, DIY approach you can take, the songs which lurk within are very much the opposite. This is a classy bunch of songs.
Burn The Fire’s swinging riff does more damage than a bull in a china shop and represents their most infectious, fun and snappy song writing to date, all the while pertaining that intrinsic and superb Hermit trademark. BEA, with guitar tones reminiscent of the guest-studded Iommi solo album, thick but trebled up to the nines side-by-side with tight, plodding drums which add a forceful magnitude to proceedings, grinds like Deliverance era COC. Alma meanwhile – the band’s homage to a great venue - conjures its graffitied toilets and blurred memories of many a beer and a boogie in the mind of the listener emphatically.
There is never a dip in form across its six tracks. In short, it is a release which, in terms of quality and the cauterising effect it has upon you, stands toe-to-toe with Boss Keloid’s Herb Your Enthusiasm – a record which guitarist Adam Robertshaw has been raving about. Together they stand as testament that what we have here in Manchester is not to be understated.
Words: Phil Weller