It’s been tough getting reviews in lately, but today I was able to give a spin to the debut release from Baratro. Shout out to Joshua Lozano for the heads up on this, as I had no idea it existed! For those familiar with Dave Curran (Unsane, PIGS, etc.), this is his latest project. The trio appears to be based in Milan, Italy, and the album was released at the end of January. It’s pretty rad.
The album sounds great, anchored by Curran’s churning bass and the driving beats of GJ Ottone. The drums are nice and punchy sounding, though the kick drum does get a little slighted in the mix. The bass sounds like Curran – I imagine it’s still a RAT smashing the front end of an SVT4, the sound he mastered for so many years with Unsane. The guitars were multi-tracked, but not just doubled, as Federico Bonuccelli occassionally creates some left-right variance to make the band sound like a four piece. His guitar tone is mean, it’s plenty dirty, but nicely articulate as well. The dissonant accents are a nice accompaniment to the drum and bass foundation, and when he does pile on with the bass riff, it’s nice and beefy sounding! The vocals (from both Curran and Bonuccelli) are mixed a bit down, but sound totally pissed. Listening to it, I’m often reminded of Eddie Gobbo’s Something Is Waiting delivery, but also the obvious Unsane feels.
This is a solid slab of nasty, down and dirty sludgy stuff. I’m into it more than I was into Chris Spencer’s Human Impact. It’s got an urgent pulse to it and it’s plenty gnarly enough to get your face twisted up in disgust while commanding participatory headbanging. Check it out! – Jason
A Goliath Of Persuasion – The brief tremolo intro sort of tricked me into thinking the song was going to go one way, but the band quickly sets in on a trademark Curran bassline, churning nonstop before the drums pile on and a panic-addled guitar line emerges from the din. The chorus then goes and drops the riff hammer! The vocals sound nasty, filled with contempt and raspy in all the right ways. Song rips. Thumbs way up.
Never Better – Dang! This one immediately sets in on another urgent beat and steamrolling groove. The guitars reveal that the player is super fond of the washy chords flitting over the rhythm section (as will become apparent across the rest of the record), but it sounds cool, so it’s alright. This cut is plenty gnarly with a nasty riff that uglies up my face. Non-stop headbanger. Thumbs way up.
Vilification – This one gets rolling with a battering beat and a sweet busy guitar bit over the bass and drums before setting in on the verse riff. The chorus riff is awkward by comparison and instantly snaps me to attention. Tough! The big whole note splashes are heavy! Rad.
The Divine Commodity – Oof, this one is a total bruiser. I’ve got a bad case of stink face and I’m swaying in my desk chair. Rocker! The tom heavy beat gives this one a different feel, and the mid-tempo slog keeps it crushing from start to finish.
So Impressive – The urgency comes back up on this one and I’m still way into it. The half-timey bits are super heavy and sound conflicted (looseness in the band), making it hit that much harder. It’s a rocker, for sure. I found myself body rocking too it. Good stuff.
Seamless Narrative – The final cut opens with an ominous, clanking guitar chord that instills a sense of dread as a subtle pitch shifting warbles in the left channel. The drums set in and I find myself ceaselessy snapping my neck to the stick clicks. When the bass comes in and they set in on the beat, it hits hard! The ensuing mid-tempo slog is hard not to head bang along to! The atmospheric sheets of guitar definitely keep up the tension first introduced by that intro. This rocks.