Since forming in 2015, Denmark’s Baest has impressed the extreme metal world with two albums, Danse Macabre and Venenum.

Both albums quickly established a sound reminiscent of classic death metal acts. “Opeth is a big influence as their discography is vast and very diverse, as is Bloodbath,” vocalist Simon explained to Distorted Sound during the promotion of Danse Macabre. “Entombed is also one of our biggest influences in terms of tone and style.” This vast melting pot of influences has, in a way, become BAEST’s USP.

Opeth is a big influence as their discography is vast and very diverse
- Baest

Their third full-length, Necro Sapiens, is a concept album based in part on George Orwell’s 1984. “Necro Sapiens are created by the Czar, a totalitarian leader who can take on different identities and philosophy,” the band explain. “He’s creating this slave-race and slaughtering them... they’ve been stripped of all freedom.”

It’s not the most outlandish concept, and their most general influences – horror, dystopia, Carcass’ seminal album Heartwork – are basically a pick ‘n’ mix of inspiration that all death metal bands dip their hand into at some point or another. But there are a lot of interesting musical specifics to be found within their work too that prove BAEST haven’t ditched their love of reworking their many influences.

A fair few of their track titles owe a debt to Cannibal Corpse; ‘Necro Sapiens’ and ‘Sea Of Vomit’ feel like they could find a home on Gallery Of Suicide, but ‘Purification Through Mutilation’ even sounds like the New York gore-masters. From that opening Corpsegrinder-Esque snarl to the effortless bending pinch harmonics, it’s a perfectly crafted (though possibly unintentional) tribute. Can any heavy band truly claim to have never taken a leaf out of the true kings of shock’s book at some point or another?

BAEST vocalist Simon Olsen has a gruff tone reminiscent of Bloodbath’s Peter Tägtgren, capable of both sharp grunts and melodic screams. ‘Meathook Massacre’ is filled with reverberating chants and an almost folky triplet feel that should feel familiar to Amon Amarth fans. ‘Czar’ is a classic piece of death metal that borrows heavily from the Morbid Angel toolbox.

Despite these overt influences possibly being the thing you pick up on the first time around, the band describe their latest offering as “the most BAEST-sounding record. The influences are there, but this is by far the record where we sound the most like ourselves. The best BAEST there is!”. In fairness, they’re not wrong.

It’s tracks like ‘Genesis’ and ‘Goregasm’ that really show this development off. Sure, Opeth has been blending progressive rock and death metal for years, but BAEST are really coming into their own with extended tracks like these. They never go so far as to introduce acoustic guitars or clean vocals, but work in their own brand of experimentation.

‘Genesis’ morphs from its doom-laden intro into crushing heaviness characterised by strict drums and wandering rhythmic riffs. ‘Goregasm’ – despite its title paying homage to Cannibal Corpse – is arguably the most far-reaching track on the album. A hauntingly isolated bass drum creates an atmospheric eeriness in the opening moments, but we actually end up with the band’s most melodic tune to date.

‘Abattoir’ is another example of BAEST’s sound modernising and finding its own unique space, particularly through the work of drummer Sebastian Abildsten. Psychedelic effects juxtapose the aggression of his playing, which seamlessly wanders into its own funky territory when necessary. At the same time, he proves that furious blast beats aren’t always a must-have accessory. He spends a good portion of the track letting the rest of his band do its thing while he hangs back on the ride cymbal, only bringing the snare drum in once per bar. It’s probably the highlight of the release.

Necro Sapiens is proof that the line between being powered by the influence of the greats and developing a unique sound can be blurred. In this record, we get something so familiar its almost recognisable, as well as something that is moving in its own rather exciting direction.

Necro Sapiens out March 5th, 2021
Order now HERE