Baest – Necro Sapiens (Century Media)

Baest’s first two albums – 2018’s Danse Macabre and its impressive follow-up, Venenum – saw the Danes opt for a Swedeath/Floridian DM soundclash and traverse a similar charred landscape to Bloodbath.

And the quintet’s DNA has remained largely unaltered for Necro Sapiens. Morbid Angel’s unholy ectoplasm, for instance, still drips from the likes of Abattoir and Czar.

But Baest’s songcraft has moved up several notches since Venenum was released back in 2019.

There’s considerably more flair to their cut and thrust dynamics, more refinement in their sonic architecture and greater focus to their writing.

And that’s obvious as soon as Genesis blasts out of the traps: after a lengthy, tension raising intro, the song explodes, diving and weaving with addictive, double-kick driven death grooves.

It’s one hell on an intro.

Goregasm follows a similar path.

Two minutes in, Svend Karlsson and Lasse Revsbech gift us a flurry of riffs that blend Gothenburg melody with Carcass-like savagery… and at each step, their power is amplified by Sebastian Abildsten’s supreme kitwork.

The title track goes one better, unleashing the kind of growl-a-long chorus many death metal bands would maim, torture and kill for. And Baest back that up with artillery barrage axework which thunders with the power of Bolt Thrower and God Dethroned.

Want hyperspeed neck snappers? You’ve got them in Meathook Massacre and Towers Of Suffocation, tracks which are seemingly built for the moshpit, yet reveal a greater complexity as they evolve.

Need more sickness in your life? Try Purification Through Mutilation and Sea Of Vomit. They reek of subterranean malevolence.

Granted, this album doesn’t stray too far outside its creators’ boundaries.

But new facets are revealed with every play.

Necro Sapiens is intelligent and imaginative.

And it’s also a very important record for Baest.

Given the sheer quality of emerging acts currently spearheading old school death metal’s resurgence, the Aarhus outfit needed to make Necro Sapiens count.

Thankfully for the Danes, they’ve done just that.