Barren Soil


Barren Soil Barren Soil cassette

As you would be right to presume, BARREN SOIL do not play ’90s revival skacore; there aren’t any ska puns in their songs nor, as far as I can tell, any pork pie hats. Thank fuck for that. This Vancouver-based unit, as the grim and sadly realistic moniker gives away (a reference to a line from NAUSEA’s “Extinction”?), does not deal in cheerfulness—BARREN SOIL is an unstoppable metal crust bulldozer. We have been quite blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view) with quality stenchcore music in the past couple of years, and this band definitely sits on the top shelf. This tape is their first recording, but the sound is amazing; it has a heavy, thick production but still keeps that specific nasty, dirty edge. The three-piece definitely knows what they are doing, and what they aim at creating and destroying with these eight songs (in fifteen minutes, an appropriate length for the genre). BARREN SOIL sounds like a brawl between deranged bears. It is an indelicate blend of NUCLEAR DEATH TERROR, mid 2010s CANCER SPREADING, and early ANGUISH, with grizzly vocals, some rotten, groovy FROST-like mid-paced bits, and even proper old-school blast beats, which I salute. So crusty it bites. I actually counted that the singer shouts the word “crust” six times on this recording, so there is one “crust” every 180 seconds on average (as a comparison, Oi! bands usually shout “oi!” every 55 seconds). Ace. The artwork, courtesy of Mike Roberts from GENOGEIST, fills the apocalyptic crust template to a T, too. This gem is a self-released tape, but it would certainly deserve a vinyl reissue. Now grab your crust pants and play this loud.