BAK — Crater (review)

BAK — Crater album cover EP · 2021 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Four years after releasing the “Flower” EP, the Sydney, Australia based BAK returns with yet another EP in the form of CRATER which features four tracks that approach the 26-minute mark. This year marks ten years that BAK has been crafting its unique mix of Indian and Arabic folk music with progressive rock and metal and features a continuing maturity that relies less on the metal heft and more on progressive rock complexities.

Sounding something like a purer folk version of Secret Chiefs 3, BAK nevertheless isn’t afraid to break into metal fury and on the opening “Damage Done” even belts out some death growls for a moment or two. The EP focuses on how humans are degrading the planet and our collective impact on the environment. While BAK started out sounding like the “Black Album” Metallica album meets Middle Eastern and Indian folk music, on “Flowers” the band adopted more of a diverse sound with references to Fates Warning and Tool.

CRATER is much more orchestrated than previous releases as heard on the soundtrack quality opening of “Nasnas” which sounds like the film score for a Middle Eastern film of some sort. Not much metal on this one save a few power chords here and there with an ending riff but when BAK uses metal, it’s in good taste and the guitar solos are actually quite energetically delivered. “Ends The Same” takes on the Tool influences with cyclical riffing but showcases dueling vocal styles of Fates Warning proggy operatic wailing and extreme growling. This one features some cool riffing variations as well as a swinging Arabic folk backdrop.

“Future’s Reality” shifts from Arab to Indian with sounds of tablas and that Shakti sorta vocal style. This track is almost 8-minutes long and alternates between soulful vocal dominated slower passages to explosive metal choruses. This one stays fairly meditative with occasional outbursts. The melody rules. Overall this newest release from BAK doesn’t seem to satisfy as much as the previous ones did. I think they hit their stride on “Flower” and this sort of retreads but for whatever reasons isn’t as memorable. Still waiting for another full-length. All this one doesn’t quite scratch the itch, this is definitely no clunker either.
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