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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

EP REVIEW: Genocidal Bakken batter the world with latest release

A COUPLE of years Bakken exploded on to the Northern Ireland scene with the release of their 'Death of a Hero' album, jam-packed with thrash and power metal, and the occasional doff of the cap towards Celtic roots.

From then on the band crafted out their sound with a series of gigs which notably saw them tighten their sound and delivery.

Now, at the tail end of 2014 the metal quartet are about to release their ep 'Worldwide Genocide' a five track flurry of riffs and high speed groove.

From the moment that the bridge and solo on 'Judgement Day' kicks in you can see a band confident in delivering both furious guitar work, while still retaining the integrity of the song: something which Dave Mustaine sometimes forgets. And, at times Simon Pickett's does unconsciously resemble the ginger one.

'Master Illusion' takes the chops of the second wave of thrash and wraps it in a tight blanket of NWOBHM much favoured by the likes of 'Tallica and Anthrax. That's not a criticism - it's a compliment. At the two minutes 15 second mark then change of pace perfectly exemplifies how Bakken can break down the elements of the influences into something fresh.

Simon and Mark-Anthony McGinnis's guitar work manage to weave around each other without overwhelming the track's sound.

Keeping the integrity of the sound is key, otherwise Adrian Stockman's bass could be lost. Thankfully it stays at the right level on 'Evil Walks This Way' with Niall McGrotty's drums maintaining a dynamic in a well arranged track with real flair.

We can see this one as a real live favourite as their is a real mix of thrash and the better aspects of power metal;  as well as having a balance throughout that showcases all the member's talents.

'Inescapable', while in itself is a solid track, at times wanes, and the influence of Mustaine on Simon's vocals again occasionally creeps in. The song is saved by Niall's metronomic and well timed double bass and a manic series of riffs. After two minutes the guitar work manages to resurrect what could have been a mundane thrasher, especially the melody work.

Rounding off the ep is 'Gaia'  which clocking in at over five minutes 20 is the longest track on the release. This is where Bakken plant their flag, stand with feet soundly planted on the soil of metal and deliver.

This has all the elements you could wish for: riffage, shouted backing vocals from Niall, Simon strident in his delivery as he paints a dystopian vision of the planet's fate. There is enough variety in the arrangement to avoid it becoming just another thrash track. The delicate acoustic moment (and it is a brief moment) builds into a crescendo of guitar work, which like 'Sasquatch' from the last release, showcases a flurry of Celtic infused melody solos. Truly a lesson in how to meld where you come from into your chosen genre. There's even a piano sequence as a coda!

After 'Death of a Hero' you could very well have expected Bakken to keep the similar themes going. Rather than that they have stretched themselves that little bit further on 'Worldwide Genocide' without leaving their core sound and values.

One hopes that this ep will serve as a bridge to further live success and getting noticed further afield.

Review by Jonny
Worlwide Genocide is officially launched at The Distortion Project on Saturday, 20th December at Limelight 2. Doors are at 5pm.
Bakken will headline with support from Irish mentalists Psykosis and young thrash upstarts Donum Dei
Door tax is £5 and usual drink promos are available

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