Although you’d never guess it from listening to BASTARÐUR‘s debut record Satan’s Loss Of Son, the main powerhouse behind this nasty crust punk machine’s other band is Icelandic ethereal post-black metallers Sólstafir. Aðalbjörn Tryggvason has brought his love of old Entombed, Disfear, Motörhead, and Terrorizer to fruition on this new project, which is out now through Season Of Mist.
Viral Tumor has a deliciously Swedeath guitar tone to it, and that classic Entombed influence is immediately apparently but it has a much more punkish vibe and sense of melody to it. It gallops off into almost a grindcore Motörhead cover with a wild solo bringing it to a crashing end. Neonlight Blitzkrieg is a rabid, high-speed animal that is covered in atonal melody lines and a snarling vocal that sounds fairly manic at points.
This isn’t your standard Discharge copycat, BASTARÐUR have many rusted strings to their bloodstained bow. There’s an inevitable bleed over from some of Tryggvason‘s day job in places; not necessarily in tone but definitely in spirit and atmosphere. You can feel the title track straining at the sinews, wanting to break out of the crust and into something grander but those chains are strong. Those instincts will have to remain caged.
This isn’t your standard Discharge copycat, BASTARÐUR have many rusted strings to their bloodstained bow…
Burn feels at once both narrow minded and visceral, and yet there feels like something else is lurking behind that sound. The solo is once again a killer, spiralling and stabbing through a stellar drumming performance and one of the more impressive vocal performances too. The Whispering Beast has some great rolling toms and a nice dose of thrash-influence in the middle as well, while Black Flag Fools wears that influence right on its denim sleeve and features a nice guest appearance by Alan Averill as well, whose iconic tones are instantly recognisable. The barrelling and catchy Afturhalds Kommatittir, a song by Tryggvason‘s old punk band, leads us nicely into closer Rise Up, a song that finally gives us that full dose of sweeping textures I’ve been waiting for. Glorious.
Crust punk is by its nature a little one dimensional. Normally I judge it on whether it feels energetic and passionate enough, which is not a problem here but the thing I really like is that BASTARÐUR clearly put more than just the base effort into the songwriting. There’s numerous points on this record where you can feel that glorious Icelandic post-metal/black metal aching to burst through and it gives Satan’s Loss Of Son an intangible that makes it stick out from the crowd. Great stuff.
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson