Barishi – Blood from the Lion’s Mouth (Season of Mist)

Friday, 23rd September 2016
Rating: 8.5/10

Barishi may now be on Season of Mist, but this is certainly not their first introduction to these pages. Starting with their 2013 self-titled debut, the Vermont troupe has rolled out a style of progressive metal that is part indigenous to their home state, and equal measure in the adventurous-without-going-overboard department. You see, while the progressive tag is of value to Barishi, it’s far from the most defining element, something that’s quite obvious across their new Blood from the Lion’s Mouth.

To the uninitiated, Barishi’s sound floats somewhere between the mountainous, new-age work of Enslaved, and Mastodon’s less indulgent and/or busy moments. While vocalist Sascha Simms is pretty standard in his delivery—all growls, all the time—what’s behind him lurks headstrong, cascading riffing, the obvious highlight on opener “Grave of the Creator” and the even better title track. Here, the melodic bubble appears always ready to burst, particularly on the title track, where the spiraling guitars of Graham Brooks have constant impact. Brooks also takes on nimble prog touches on “Death Moves in Silence,” a sort of Between the Buried and Me-lite cut that is suitably effective, and quirky patterns on “The Deep,” the album’s longest jam.

With the band’s self-titled foray, one got the sense Barishi were still getting stretched out and trying to work in Simms, who had just joined the band prior to the album’s recording. Blood from the Lion’s Mouth, though, is a pointed slab of forward-thinking, smart, heady progressive metal. Unlike bands of a similar thread, Barishi keeps things remarkably direct. That’s why Blood from the Lion’s Mouth works in so many ways.

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