‘Messe Pour Un Chien’
Released: November 2014
French. The language of love, of romance, of poetry. And now, thanks to Barabbas, of idiosyncratic, versatile doom metal that on occasion is so sexy it’ll get vous hot under le collar.
However, from the moment you realise that the album’s title translates as ‘Church Service For A Dog’, it is clear that nothing here is clear. Far from being poodle-pampering Parisians, this band from the suburbs of Combs-la-Ville deliver potent, passionate music from the heart. In places, ‘Messe Pour Un Chien’ transcends the confines of genre tagging. Yes it is undoubtedly doom metal at its core, but this is curious, elemental heavy music that crosses boundaries.
From gothic church organs to a brief Diamond Head homage, it is difficult to define the personality of this band. Most visibly, Barabbas play thundering, glowering stoner doom with raucous, rough-hewn vocals and vital, vicious guitars.
The French band had promised something “dynamic and overwhelming” and they have certainly delivered on that. The album is packed almost to the top with richly rewarding material that offers the listener a real adventure. From the stylishly rising chorus of ‘Priez’ to the strange and beautiful synths on the title track, you get a sense of creative juices flowing freely.
‘Messe Pour Un Chien’ is also produced with great care and attention, showcasing the band’s solid songwriting skills. There are a couple of uptempo rocky tracks – ‘Moi, Le Male Omega’ and ‘La Beaute Du Diable’ – which neglect the heaviness and do not quite sit comfortably amidst the doomy density of the rest of the album.
But things quickly get back on track with the gloriously over-the-top ‘Judas Est Un Femme’ – and you don’t have to be multi-lingual to comprehend the meaning behind that song title. On this composition, a sludgy, filthy, mud-sucking riff is counteracted with a gargantuan choral chorus. It’s spectacularly enjoyable.
This album is full of surprises, character and invigorating doom metal. It’s the kind of release that can divide opinion while also appealing to a diverse audience, and such versatility demonstrates a band unafraid to experiment and explore its identity.