Italians Barbarian have been peddling their ‘Manowar meets Venom’ esque brutality for a number of years now, but this is my first opportunity to come across them. Their new record, ‘Cult of the Empty Grave’, is out now on Hell’s Headbangers. There’s definite evidence of the first two bands mentioned, but you’ll also find some great Celtic Frostisms too,
Listening to Barbarian is kinda like if the original Conan (not the terrible remakes) had a purely metal soundtrack. The riffing is classic 80s metal with a harsh, blood spilling vocal, and the guitar tone is wonderfully NWOBHM. The righteous Angel Witch-esque thrust of the title track is a particular highlight for me, but you can point to the rampaging ‘Absolute Metal’ or the fist pumping glory of ‘Bone Knife’ as other great songs. ‘Cult of the Empty Grave’ is just a good old fashioned fucking metal album that claims nothing fancy, but delivers great songs in spades.
There’s a joyful simplicity about Barbarian. The galloping riffs, the infectious melodies and the killer solos lead you perfectly across unbroken plains, where blood is spilled and bones are cleaved by warriors old. ‘Cult of the Empty Grave’ is an album worth picking up for that alone!