Released: 2005, Spinefarm Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
The Finnish goatworshippers Barathrum, have come to the end of their road. The last letter of the “H.E.I.L.S.O.V.A.” –saga, ´A´, has now been achieved by naming the last Barathrum album with such a wicked title as ANNO ASPERA – 2003 YEARS AFTER BASTARD´S BIRTH (or originally was supposed to be called ANTI-CHRIST NEUTRONSTAR if I remember correctly?). There has some speculation on whether the kingoat Demonos Sova could still make his ninth album, carrying possibly as simple title “!”, but I guess it would be better and kind of ‘truer´ to leave it here even if after a couple of previous, rather mediocre Barathrum albums (i.e. OKKULT and VENOMOUS), the band has returned to the right path for the very last time by churning out a tad more of venom, pentagrams, hornheads and a pus of bastard Christ on ANNO ASPERA.
Barathrum has always maintained a very unique and original sound during their whole career and that is just one of the few reasons why I have found them a relatively fascinating and interesting band. So in that sense it is fair to say that it is basically kind of sad ANNO ASPERA remains to be the last final page of the whole Barathrum chapter.
ANNO ASPERA has lots of the same elements that all the other Barathrum albums have contained; the songs sound thoroughly vicious, relentless, pleasingly tormenting and overall Barathrum’s very anti-Christian message comes through loud and clear on this grand-finale album. “Angelraper” is undoubtedly the catchiest track on ANNO ASPERA due to its very mind-sticking chorus in which Demonos Sova proclaims to be an infamous “angelraper (huh!)” I stopped-counting-how-may-times he said it exactly.
In the 3rd song of the album titled “Into Maze of Nightmares”, Barathrum keeps things surprisingly on the heavier and doomier side of their infernal realm. This track in question adds its own unique and special contrast to the content of this album definitely giving Barathrum more well-deserved credit as a Black Metal act that created its own, well-distinctive world of sounds unlike many other Black Metal bands have managed to do during their entire existence. Also a mid-tempo tune called “Mother of Christ” sounds also nicely twisted and sexy, the one and only Barathrum –way. “Crucifix Masturbation” isn’t too bad either. Without Demonos Sovas´ disturbed vocal parts, it sounds very Death Metallic even whereas “Naildan” is basically Barathrum’s Thrash Metal song without thrash –vocals and a huge riff-fest.
In fact, to my ears ANNO ASPERA reeks pleasingly of some of the dynamics that LEGIONS OF PERKELE had in quite many ways. Also, I think the songs overall seem to stand out a bit better as compared to either OKKULT or VENOMOUS. It seems that the Barathrum –camp´s song writing skills have definitely become better over the years.
The production on ANNO ASPERA is in a good balance as it is clear and every instrument has been put in an equal position during the mixing process. I’m sure some of you may think it is a bit too polished and clean for a band like Barathrum, but not every Black Metal album has to sound like a swarm of angry bees under a toilet seat in order to sound ´convincing´ or ´blacker-than-thou´ or ´wot-whatso-fukken-eva…´!!
Barathrum is no more. However, as the final concluding words I just would like to say to all of you Barathrum –fans out there: ANNO ASPERA is a very good Barathrum album, so go and complete your personal Barathrum album collection with ANNO ASPERA. “Be forever hailed Barathrum – HEIL SOVA…!!”.