Bast’s November 23 Black Bow Records release Nanoångström quickly proves itself an absolutely monumental work of low tuned, experimental metal catharsis. To use some familiar terminology — the band feels as though they blend the sensibilities of sludge, doom, black metal — and beyond! — into their work. Throughout the lengthy (but welcome) run time, Bast keep listeners guessing as to what will come next, which remains itself an impressive accomplishment for a record this huge.
The band’s strength and intrigue don’t only rest with the simple fact of their experimentation, though. In their ambition, Bast take the listener on a sonic journey. The narrative sense at the core of their work feels more immersive and less linear, and in that nature, it provides a unique experience.
The band’s riffs feel at once up close and personal with the listener and huge and laying out a path ahead of the listener making their way through the album. There’s even an emotional sense at play, heightened more at some points like when the band slows down a bit and becomes more musically contemplative — but at the same time, there’s a pervading “earthy” sense. The music — drawing from the well that’s informed so much high caliber alternative and extreme metal — feels both sufficiently down to earth, and, in a sense, connected with the earth itself. The music draws some of its strength from a natural feeling magnanimity.
Some specific strains of extreme metal, like sludge, often can’t really get away from that sense to begin with. Built into the nature of a massive, towering riff is an image, of sorts, of massive, towering natural habitats. The music provides a more all encompassing experience than something simpler.
Bast leverage this aspect of their music for a greater purpose, holding the listener’s attention closely. Their close grasp of massive music culminates in what could even be described as a welcome groove that doesn’t often make an appearance in the depths of sludge, doom, and beyond.
Like mentioned already, they keep the listener on their toes. This album doesn’t really present as for casual listening — the journey’s too exciting for that. Bast truly feel like they’ve carved out a space all their own.
Listen to the band below via Spotify.