I’m all for adding black metal’s cold influence into other styles. Between Kvelertak, Sibiir, and Barishi, adding black metal rasps and atmosphere into sludge and hardcore has been a big thing of late, and I fully support it. Virginia’s Bearstorm, aside from conjuring up an interesting image, offer up yet another slab of blackened genre stew with their latest EP. The group’s style is certainly interesting, blending black metal, southern rock, stoner, sludge, and prog, often in different ratios within songs. While the ingredients are similar to one of my favorite discoveries of 2016, Barishi, Bearstorm look to the harshness of black metal more than its occult majesty. They also harness the blues influence to great effect. The fullness of the fuzzy riffs counters nicely with the truly tasty licks. The three actual songs on this short EP conjure up images of ancient battles in an imaginary land that is half Georgia, half Norway, like the Confederate flag colored with in corpse paint.
Unfortunately, the two other tracks, the opening nature intro and the instrumental “Agaric Catechism”, while smartly offering a salve to the noise, feel unnecessary. The three full tracks are so miles above the instrumental tunes that these two tracks are quite unnecessary. Otherwise, this is a really great little EP that introduces a new blackened voice in the world of progressive sludge. Let the Bearstorm begin.