This was always going to be a tricky one. Bast's debut, 'Spectres', was top of my 2014 'best of' list by a country mile, and remains a firm favorite. A seamless fusion of Post-Metal, Black Metal and Sludge/Doom, conceptually charting the shamanistic experience. The recording simply stood head and shoulders above anything else in it's field. I wasn't alone in my enjoyment. Well received across the board, 'Spectres' was also the inspiration for Jon Davis from Conan to start his Burning World imprint. Bast are also amazing live. One of those trios who sound like there's at least five of them on stage. I was fortunate enough to see them play a number of times when I was living in London, the first of which was at the intimate Windmill venue in Brixton where they only managed fifteen minutes or so before the guitar amp head failed them. Didn't matter, fifteen minutes was all it took. I was already hooked.
I'm going to get straight to the point: I mean, we've waited long enough for a follow up to 'Spectres'. 'Nanoångström' is another monster of a record. Effectively picking up where they left off last time around, Bast's sophomore release is a mature and confident record that sees them building on, and augmenting, the fantastic foundations laid by 'Spectres'. Slightly less rough around the edges than its predecessor but no less enjoyable, the music weaves it's way effortlessly along, mixing their chosen trio of styles (Post/Black/Doom) into a righteous cacophony of absorbing vibration. Opener 'Distant Suns' begins in quiet and contemplative fashion before 'Far Horizons' churns its way from Post-Metal through progressive Sludge until it can contain itself no more and wraps itself up in a shower of blackened blast beats. It leaves you grinning from ear to ear, happy in the knowledge that Bast have returned, and are sounding better than ever. There are a number of reasons why.
For starters the songs are structured to near perfection. No filler, and nothing for the sake of it. Every note rings with purpose, and each musical offering is truly the sum of its parts. The band's sound is ludicrously tight, and has clearly reapedthe rewards from their heavy touring schedule. If anyone was thinking 'Spectres' was the sound of beginner's luck made manifest then 'Nanoångström' flushes that idea resolutely down the pan. Production is handled again by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer, and the dense yet crisp sound lets Bast's progressive side shine. With that in mind it is on the title track where the band simply excel themselves. For me this is their defining moment thus far. It's not like the rest of the album is bad in any way, shape or form, but with 'Nanoångström' they hone their influences and prove their songwriting chops beyond any doubts. They all but do it again on album closer 'The Ghosts Which Haunt The Space Between The Stars'. Blistering. You could do a lot, lot worse than start the year with this.
1. Distant Suns
2. Far Horizons
3. The Beckoning Void
5. A Red Line Through Black
6. The Ghosts Which Haunt The Space Between The Stars
Duration : Approx. 58 minutes