Baest – Danse Macabre Review

Band: Baest
Album: Danse Macabre
Label: Century Media Records
Genre: Old School Death Metal
Country: Denmark
Release Date: August 17, 2018

Hailing from Aarhus, Denmark, Baest are a hard hitting Death Metal band who show no sign of stopping! Baest was founded in October of 2015 and have since cultivated a cult like following, no pun intended. The band’s moniker translates to ‘beast’ or ‘brute’ in Danish and fits just perfectly with the bands vicious sound. Danse Macabre marks the band’s debut album and is packed with growls, hard-hitting Boss HM-2 pedal abusing guitar tones, relentless riffs and absolute bangers of songs. Though being influenced by many Old School Death Metal bands such as Entombed, Morbid Angel, Bloodbath and many others, they certainly do not lack in originality. Adding their own creative edge and ferocity, Baest have become *monsters* in their own right! Baests Danse Macabre offers pummeling death metal, in your face lyrics about murderous goodness, chunky OSDM riffs, and most importantly, the beast that is Baest.

The first time I heard the vocals I was speechless, they were so low that vocalist Simon Olsen must certainly have the portal to hell in his throat! In all my years of listening to extreme metal, I’ve heard plenty of growls, but very few vocalists can surpass Olsen. Olsens horrifyingly low vocal performance will leave an impression on the listener, as well as put many vocalist to shame.. I’m not speaking for myself here… or am I? On Danse Macabre, Olsen delivered a masterful performance, expanding his range while also knowing where to draw a line. He nailed it, to say the least.

Let us not forget the crushing riffs the record showcases, delivered by guitarists Karlsson and Revsbech, with Melchiorsen supplying the low end depth. Danse Macabre showcases lightspeed shredding, atonal solos and slow chunky riffs that you can’t help but headbang to, everything an OSDM fan would love. The atmosphere of each song showcases the band’s ability to really grab the listeners attention, thanks to the killer musicianship. It’s safe to say that Danse Macabre is setting records! As well as setting the bar high for the remaining albums of 2018.

Sebastian Abildsten is the band’s drummer, and he does an incredible job. The drums know their place on this record, not shying away from chaotic goodness when the time’s right. The pace is kept extremely well and really shows in much of the slower segments. It’s no surprise that in many bands today blast-beats are commonly used, and can be a tad bit overused. Such is not the case with Baest, and especially not on Danse Macabre. Though blast-beats are utilized, they aren’t heavily depended on. The drumming on the record is a breath of fresh air, one I needed.

Danse Macabre is a record I played again, again and again. With every listen I’d get more and more into the record, finding myself putting certain songs on repeat. Here are some of the standout tracks;

Beginning with the opening track ‘Crosswhore’ which happens to be my favorite off the album! It’s heavy, rhythmic, fast and has a crushing solo midway through the track. The main riff is as memorable as they come, I found myself playing it in my head numerous times. Just from the title ‘Crosswhore’ you’d expect some explicit lyrics, and Baest deliver. Whether or not intentional the title brought to mind the horror classic The Exorcist. With lyrics such as “abusing herself with a crucifix in her hand” I can’t help but think of young possessed Regan. The lyrics certainly aren’t about The Exorcist, realistically they appear to take a more anti-religious take. Nonetheless ‘Crosswhore’ is a phenomenal opening track.

The title track ‘Danse Macabre’ starts with fire crackling and an acoustic guitar plucking, creating a sinister and eerie vibe from the get go. Soon after a second acoustic guitar is heard playing, later joined by an electric axe playing the same riff. Layering atmosphere and static, the track builds into ripping blast beats, changing the pace instantly. The guitars show off the HM-2 buzzsaw, a OSDM trademark. This track and all others have the best mix of fast/slow musical elements I’ve ever heard, placement couldn’t have been more perfect. ‘Danse Macabre’ is what every title track should be, and more.

With ‘Ritual’ the pummeling aggression subsides completely, with a nearly 2 minute acoustic track. After such hard hitting tracks ‘Ritual’ serves as a intermission from our “headbanger’s journey” of brutality, but not for long! With ambience and static the track ends and the brutality and aggression is back with ‘Vortex’ and stays for the remainder of the album.

The final track ‘Ego Te Absolvo’ is a culmination of everything Danse Macabre has offered up to this point, and more. Everything above is brought into conclusion with crushing riffs, solos, low end depth, smashing drums and inhumane growls! It brings an end to our “Headbangers Journey” of brutality, but no need to fret! The beast that is Baest, isn’t done just yet.

After discussing some of the standout tracks off Danse Macabre, it’s time to discuss my final thoughts on the album as a whole. First impressions are always important, especially when it comes to music. And with Baest I have no complaints, at first listen I instantly knew I’d love this band. My first song being ‘Crosswhore’ of course, which inevitably became my favorite off the record. I won’t lie that I had my doubts about Danse Macabre, I didn’t want to end up hearing the same old record over and over again, the same formula just different band. But with Danse Macabre all these doubts were washed away, every single one. What I was hearing was original, it was authentic. I have nothing to criticize as the record has such a perfect polished Old-School Death Metal sound. The record is mixed/mastered extremely well, with everything sounding top notch. It’s very rare that I like everything about an album, but with Danse Macabre it’s almost impossible not too!

Danse Macabre is a brilliant debut album by Denmark’s very own, Baest! I hope that they’ll bring the record to as many places as humanly possible, the crowd reactions will be immense! Baest have lots of room to grow, grow into the “baest” they’ll become that is! If you’re a fan of OSDM, this record is for you! If you are new to the subgenre I believe that this record may be a great start, it’s a great entry point in my opinion. Danse Macabre is my top release of this month, and will most definitely have a comfortable spot in my top 10 for the remainder of the year.

Rating: 9/10

1. Crosswhore
2. Hecatomb
3. Danse Macabre
4. Atra Mors
5. Messe Macabre
6. Ritual
7. Vortex
8. Ego Te Absolvo

Total Playing Time: 33:44

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