Baalberith - Manhunt

Baalberith are a five piece death metal band with black metal influences here and there from Poland and “Manhunt” is their crushing debut full length for 2021. Taking a mix of mid era Incantation mixed with Behemoth, what one has here is some pretty solid mid to fast paced death metal. Tracks like the opening ‘22’ are excellent demonstrations of what Baalberith are best at: ominous guitar passages that are suffocating yet sound clean so there is a bit of groove involved (no need for a torrential drench of reverb), layered vocals that have a discernable growl but a shriek on top of it- think “Demigod” days Behemoth- and thunderous drums mixed with the bass that fit right in the mix without sounding out of place or buried. While one could say that the group is pretty much putting out a sound that groups like Behemoth, Immolation, Deicide, and so many other late 90s death metal band have done already, one thing that Baalberith have got nailed down is their ability to keep pace and groove, much like Six Feet Under or Torture Killer. True, sometimes the groove can be a little repetitive at times such as on a track like ‘Day’s Covered Eyes,’ and might not have as much punch as the other tracks, but they are solidly enjoyable. The bass for one just rocks on that track.

Tracks like ‘I Know Your Future’ and ‘Your Last Step’ lose the groove a bit for a faster pace, but make up for it in some rather melodic, doomy guitar solos/ bridges that the other tracks don’t share. This gives a chance for the drums to slow down a little bit and again for the bass to shine through with some melodic technicality. Of course, this doesn’t last long as Baalberith eventually explode into their usual machine gun fire mode to shatter ear holes. ‘Son of Sam’ probably features the most ‘black metal’ elements of the album, but again it is mostly based on the vocals. The mid paced to slow death metal churning still dominates most of the music.

‘Bones And Teeth’ are one of the fastest tracks on the album, yet still very groove laden. However, it also feels like it goes by way too quick with its speed. The overall album is just 7 tracks so sometimes listeners can get distracted for just a few seconds and suddenly it feels like the album is unfortunately over. Thankfully the closing ‘Tons Of Mud’ brings back that sludgy, Incantation style riffing and gets attention back on track. Grim, foreboding, and with chilling outro riffs, this one solidifies its place as the best track on “Manhunt.” Like ‘Day’s Covered Eyes’ some might feel these gripping riffs are a little too repetitive as they carry on, but they help with the atmosphere of the album. In the end, it helps make “Manhunt” a solid first effort, and definitely worth checking out for fans of death metal in general that isn’t too progressive or melodic or too underground. The production is clean enough that it sounds like good, cohesive death metal that hits hard, but not overwhelmingly hard.

3.5 / 5 STARS

1. 22
2. I Know Your Future
3. Son Of Sam
4. Your Last Step
5. Day’s Covered Eyes
6. Bones And Teeth
7. Tons Of Mud