UK blackened doom metal band BAST are back with Nanoångström – the follow-up to their 2014 critically acclaimed release Spectres – and it’s an aggressive yet contemplative experimental, emotional, textured beast of an album!
The usual tropes of exploring “the human conditions of loss, isolation, and change in the wake of time’s passage” may form the backbone but the thrill of Nanoångström lies in its often folk-tinged exploration of sludge / doom / black metal.
Ironically, just as you’ve pegged Bast as an English Heritage band, Nanoångström leave the windswept moors of England behind and stride into the cosmos, with “The Beckoning Void” becoming a bleak, sci-fi inflected, mediation on man’s ultimate futility in the face of such never-ending darkness. Which, again, sounds like a rather familiar concept when dealing with this sub-genre. However, Bast truly are transcending genre trappings with their ever-evolving moods and incomparable dexterity ably lifting the 6 songs found on Nanoångström out of the doom/sludge quagmire and into the stratosphere.
There’s an ethereal quality at work here with Bast tapping into something both futuristic and primordial and the results are uniformly stunning throughout. As perhaps expected, we’re dealing with heroically long songs here (the majority break the 10 min mark) but never once do Bast lose focus, nor your attention, such is the imperial majesty of their work.
A kinship with the work of Winerfylleth is also clear to hear and it comes as no surprise when ‘fylleth frontman Chris Naughton pops up on epic closer “The Ghosts Which Haunt the Space Between the Stars”, a track which picks up the pace as tremolo riffs remind you this is a ‘blackened’ metal band. As Bast settle into a mix of Satyricon-esque grooves and thrashy hostility, this outstanding end to an absolutely exceptional album leaves you reeling, and yet, feeling fully sated.
Bast’s Nanoångström is one of the finest releases of the year, regardless of genre. 9/10
Nanoångström was released on CD, digital and limited edition vinyl, via Black Bow Records, on November 23rd 2018.