Review: Hats Barn “Y.a.HW.e.H” [Osmose Productions]

Review: Hats Barn “Y.a.HW.e.H” [Osmose Productions]

- in Reviews

It’s a point that probably doesn’t need to be brought up on a website called “Antichrist Magazine”, but good grief how terrible is religious music? I don’t refer necessarily to classical or folk music, where differences between liturgical and secular are at this point merely footnotes and nomenclature. No, I’m referring to that lukewarm, anodyne pop rock thrumming below the Radio Top 40 surface, growing in influence and prolificacy with each passing decade. In my Jesus-addled part of the world there are multiple radio stations that play nothing but insipid ballads about God or vacuous ditties inspiring people to… I don’t know, throw an atheist into a lake or whatever. Even more of an affront are the “heavy” Christian bands, who mostly suck and whose best and brightest leave that shit in the rearview as soon as they get their act together.

I’ll give up Trouble’s Psalm 9 as the one exception, otherwise metal in all its forms is the domain of the agnostic and the devilish. At the most extreme end, there’s almost a doubling back into the liturgical, where maddening Satanic hymns take on a similar glorification bent. It is in this realm that Hats Barn from northern France has made its place, praising all things hellish and relishing in desecration of Christian and humanistic moralities. Formed by current vocalist Psycho in 2005, the current lineup also includes guitarist Soggoth, drummer Kryos, and bassist Ruine. Gazing upon their works, Hats Barn’s singular drive is to create diabolical hymns suitable for The Morningstar himself. Their current release Y.a.HW.e.H, both their first full length since 2017 ’s N.A.H.A.S.H and sixth full length overall, is no exception. Released in June 2022 through Osmose Productions, Y.a.HW.e.H is a sonic terror that succeeds as a continuation of Hats Barn’s motivation: misanthropy, blasphemy, and animus.

While there are 11 tracks listed for the album, the meat of Y.a.HW.e.H corporealizes after “Ten Psalms of Death and Khaos”, an orchestral introduction with foreboding horns and orchestral drums. Stylistically it is far flung from the rest of the album, but as a declaration of war it is appropriately sinister. Also appropriate is how the true ire of Hats Barn immediately trashes whatever stage is set by this opening within the first few seconds of “BAAL-ZEBUB”. From there Hats Barn fires on all cylinders for the remainder of the album. Tracks like “Y.H.W.H.” and “Total Death Kult” are fast and mean and clear every bar you could set out for a Satanic black metal act. All the musicianship is extremely proficient: discordant guitars shock with high gain distortion and Kryos’ drums vacillate between blasts and hardcore beats to exhibit a wide array of rhythms. Psycho’s ghoulish vocal stylings, however, are the standout component. Typical growled vocals are here, as are literal wails, screeches, and screams to bring songs out of theatrical posturing and into visceral reality. The effect is an additional air of authenticity where “blood flowing like rivers” feels less like a poetic suggestion more like a threat ready for manifestation.

The best summation of Hats Barn’s musical approach is that their chosen form of worship feels like it leaves nothing in reserve. Herein is a fervor that cannot be quenched, zealous and committed to destruction. Y.a.HW.e.H sounds like a wretched Pentecostal mass, where snake-handlers and poison-eaters convulsing around upside-down crucifixes feel just out of range of the microphone. Every shriek is sympathetically raw and exhausting in the best way possible, and makes you wonder what recovery for Psycho looks like after a recording session. Driving everything is an almost DIY aesthetic that consistently feels like it’s on the verge of careening out of control, but the excitement of potential collapse is more thrilling than anything that those weird youth ministers could cook up.

There is no artifice here, but the dearth of any progressive notions or explorations into other genres does not diminish what is ultimately devotion to the morbid and profane. The harshness and disgust are the point, and the contempt that Hats Barn levels at their targets is palpable. The sheer aggression and spectacle alone are good cause for recommendation. If for some reason that’s still not enough to get you on board, then I can think of a couple radio stations you might like to check out. I’ll just need to grab a life jacket first.

If you really would like to support Antichrist, you can just Share our article.
You can also support Antichrist by sending a couple bucks to cover some webhosting expenses.
=>> PayPal