Hey folks, today let’s talk about death metal.
Barbarian Prophecies – Origin (digital: 19 April 2018; vinyl: Base Record Production / Hecatombe Records / Iron Matron Records, 21 June 2019)
Barbarian Prophecies – Horizon (digital: 06 July 2021; physical: Base Record Production / Hecatombe Records / Violence in the Veins, Iron Matron Records, 01 November 2021)
Death metal tends to be a genre somewhat underrepresented on this website, mostly because it so infrequently catches the attention of your humble chief writer and publisher, if I’m being honest. Often I find it to be either bland and formulaic, or trying too hard to be impressive and technical in nature, and consequently artificial-sounding.
Galician crew Barbarian Prophecies, however, is one group that really made me take notice when I first heard them almost a full decade ago, when Valley of Steel was still very much in its infancy, and for a short while I had resorted to trawling the Roadrunner Records‘ “Signmeto” website (which was discontinued not long after) for fresh new content about which to write.
I had become a fan of the band at that time for the way they combined high-quality instrumental talents with varied-enough-to-stay-interesting songwriting, putting dark and doomy vibes with mid-tempoed death riffs. And for all those reasons I’ve kept up with the band on and off since then — and today have chosen to take advantage of some very rare downtime to chat with you readers about their latest two releases.
Barbarian Prophecies‘ main core of co-guitarists Arnt Bünz and Óscar Besteiro has remained intact over the years, although they did shuffle through a couple different lead vocalists in the mid-twenty-teens, with those reins being taken up ever since then by someone known simply as Alicia, whose gruff and powerful delivery nicely complements the rest of the band (and who has also taken over as the resident bass player as of their newest album), as well as adding new drummer Diego Maya in between these two LPs.
A quick glance at the group’s jagged logo, and the arcane-looking geometric symbols in their album covers and other artwork, and a potential listener might be led to anticipate some sterile, overly-processed tech-death. But this could hardly be farther from the truth, as 2018’s Origin (which caught my ears only upon its vinyl release in 2019, hence its appearance on that year’s best-of list) sounds wholly organic and raw — and despite the addition of occasional synth parts complementing the cosmic theme of this year’s Horizon, if anything this newer album comes across as even raw-er, and more brutal at times, with thick, punchy riffs backing the virtuosic leads and solos.
Both Origin and Horizon can be streamed or downloaded using the following embedded players, while several older releases may also be found on Bandcamp, and in this writer’s opinion any of these would be well worth the time spent checking them out!
* * * * * * *