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Review: Baest – Venenum

by Miloš Šebalj
Baest

Baest – Venenum

  1. Vitriol Lament
  2. Gula
  3. Nihil
  4. Venenum
  5. Styx
  6. Heresy
  7. As Above So Below
  8. Sodomize
  9. Empty Throne
  10. No Guts, No Glory (Bolt Thrower cover)

Label: Century Media
Date: September 13, 2019

I was pretty sure somebody was in dire need of a spelling lesson, but it turned out “baest” stands for “beast” in Danish. It’s funny how the languages evolve in weird ways sometimes. In the end it all came to somebody really needing spelling lesson. Somebody in the long forgotten past, but still… Whatever this is all about, I’m sure it confuses quite a bit of people on both sides of the open water.

I have disclosed the origin of the band in the introduction. What is left to mention is that “Venenum” is the second full length album by this quintet and the fact that they were picked up by the world renowned label almost from the start of their career can tell you the rest. They are always up for the current trends and, in this case, they went for the resurrection of the Swedish Death Metal. Milking it all the way, if you ask me, since the best new old school albums have been released years ago already and there are a number of bands who are left standing after the flood has gone.

Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with “Venenum”. Baest even travels outside of the worn out pattern at times. While you can clearly name their well-known influences, there are moments where the Danes pick up a few extras. I’m mostly talking about the melodic harmonies introduced by the late Chuck Schuldiner, like in “As Above So Below”. These might be rare, but they offer a different perspective and might just be the key to escaping the ‘simple clone’ title. It is no wonder that the mentioned track is my favorite, since it brings the most diversity in the rhythmical department as well as the skillful arrangement to break the habit.

As much as there is nothing wrong with this release, there is nothing outstanding either. “Venenum” easily falls under the ‘standard’ category. There are very few creative solutions which should bring this band above the average. The album is fairly predictable. Aggressiveness is there, brutality as well, recognizable “HM-2” sound… Guitars are well played, rhythm section is as tight as it gets, vocals are done to perfection and it is all fine-tuned by the production work standard for the fresh genre participants. In other words, modern outtake on the old school filth. Baest guys have surely listened to enough of Swedish Death Metal to know what they are doing. On the other hand, maybe they have heard a bit too much and it is suffocating their own creativity. Perhaps it is a simple case of hyper production, as their previous album was released just a year before this one. “Danse Macabre” picked quite a number of brilliant reviews. Haven’t heard it before, but it must be a much better record than this one.

Take your time guys. There is no need to rush things. Or is there? Big label usually stands for big pressure. Whatever the case is, Baest proved they are up to something good. They might just need to think things through and it will all come in place. Anyway, I’m sure the promotion Century Media brings to the table will help them a lot, so “Venenum” will find enough fans. There are certainly enough maniacs of the old Swedish sound to pick up on this and worship it.

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