Forming only last year, you’d be forgiven for thinking that In Gallows By Mass from Sheffield-based post metal outfit, BA’AL, was anything but their debut release. Mirroring a level of confidence and song-writing ability often found in bands long-established, their astonishing three-track release is a fiercely-impressive showcase, especially from a band well within its infancy. Taking influences from the worlds of sludge, doom, black, and progressive metal, the EPs 30 minute runtime fuses together richly textured landscapes with heavy, down-tuned riffs to create one of the most interesting debut releases I’ve heard in a long time.
Stretching outside of the realms of convention, BA’AL have created an identity for themselves that, thanks to shifting dynamics and an eclectic combination of styles, allows them to stand clear of the competition. Citing influences from the likes of ISIS, CULT OF LUNA and DEFTONES, BA’AL are a band not afraid to experiment and keep their listeners guessing. Supplying countless surprises throughout, each track brings its own distinct flavour, culminating in a complete package that’s ever-enjoyable and never short of engaging. Even despite the lengthy offerings of each track, the longest of which is 12 minutes long, the band’s remarkable talent ensures that not a single moment outstays its welcome.
Starting strong with the opening track Black River, the mood of this release is immediately founded within the very first sludge-coated riff to erupt across the opening few seconds. Bringing with it a distinct, heavy tone that persists throughout the rest of the EP, these slow, powerful riffs engulf the entire track. Supported by the ferocious shrieks of vocalist Steffan Benham, Black River successfully builds up to several densely-packed, mesmerising highs. Finishing with a well-earned climax that blends the aforementioned tortured screams with vocal melody, a mighty riff carries the track towards a satisfying, earth-shattering conclusion.
Demonstrating the most emotive offering found within the EP, the following track, One Under The Sun, opens in direct contrast to what came before, making use of reverb-heavy guitar riffs and clean vocals to initially create a softer, spacious mix. Packing the landscape with more and more texture as the song progresses, screams soon echo over an almost shoegaze-like atmosphere as the band prove their post metal credentials. Perhaps our favourite track of the release, every single facet feels utterly inspired and the proceedings totally unpredictable. Filled with surprises, the track takes a total turn within the closing minutes to deliver on a huge payoff, displaying the bands ingenuity in full.
Making one hell of a closing statement, Days Of Yore tops off the EP with a truly impressive journey across the bands wide-ranging styles and influences. Packing more variety within the confines of a single song than a lot of bands do within entire albums, the ability on show here is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Packing heavy punches of aggression one minute and then the next delivering soaring highs and thick sonic landscapes, it makes you question whether there’s a true end to any of BA’AL‘s talents.
Leaving behind a lasting impression with its final offering, In Gallows By Mass is a genuine aural spectacle from start to finish, one that makes us excited for what will come next of the Sheffield five-piece. With a performance under their belt at this year’s Bloodstock Open Air Festival, a touring schedule planned for the new year as well as plans for recording further material, it’s fair to assume that BA’AL not only have a bright future ahead, but are also one of the most exciting bands to recently emerge from the UK.
In Gallows By Mass is set for release on November 11th via APF Records.
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