B.S.T. from Hamburg are certainly no unknowns in the German doom scene: No wonder, the band was already founded in 1994 and their first EP Vier + 2 was released in 2000. If you look at the quartet’s output as a whole, you quickly realise that B.S.T. took quite a long time to get going in terms of releases and generally take their time: The now available album Herbst is just the third full-length after Die Illusion (2013) and Unter Deck (2017). So you can say that when the North German doomers speak out, they really have something to say. Let’s get one thing straight: This is definitely the case in 2022!
Herbst is above all an extremely intense affair – both on a lyrical and musical level. We are definitely dealing with art here, for which you have to take your time. I also claim that you shouldn’t listen to Herbst in all moods, as it can trigger exceptionally intense emotions. Whether you draw strength from this album or instead let yourself be dragged into the abyss depends on the state of mind of the listener. But one thing is clear: Herbst will not leave anyone untouched who can even remotely relate to classic, powerful doom sounds.
I would like to emphasise the yearning guitars that ennoble the opener “Nur ein Tag im Leben“, among others. You can feel the passion with which music is made here. In addition, the first track on the third B.S.T. long player makes it clear once again that the Germans can create long tracks at the very highest level – here, as in “Kaltstart“ and “Der Mut“, which both (also) break the 11 and 10 minute mark, you never look at the clock for a second. On the contrary, you are rather saddened that the songs are over and you flirt with pressing the repeat button.
Also worth mentioning are the vocals of Heiko, who is also responsible for one of the six-stringers praised above. A doom album, in my world, definitely needs an outstanding singer to be able to grab me 100%. Regarding B.S.T. it has to be said: The vocals are extremely powerful and also quite variable. But even more important: Heiko offers the lyrics with so much fervour that as a listener you hang on his lips. Even if, objectively speaking, he does not sing in the highest division, where you find exceptional artists like Anders Engberg (Sorcerer) or Arkadius Kurek (Wheel).
By the way, it makes no sense at all at this point to pick out a single song as a recommendation for a play, as Herbst is a complete work of art with a beautiful flow – and the gloomy autumnal atmosphere that characterises it does not come across in arbitrarily chosen excerpts. Lyrically, however, I recommend the closing track “Der Mut“, which really sends a cold shiver down my spine. And I mean that purely appreciatively.
The paths too far, but I tried anyway
At the end of time, it was seldom enough
Even if it fades away, the attempt still remains
The verdict is in, the courage was impressive
(English translation by me)
Conclusion: B.S.T. deserve to be on stage at the Hammer of Doom in Würzburg in a month’s time to perform their music in such an amazing setting. I am sure that they will succeed in gaining some new fans in the Posthalle who don’t know the band yet despite their rather long existence. Since Herbst at the latest, it has been clear that in 2023 it should be possible to put together a German deluxe doom package consisting of B.S.T., Wheel and Cross Vault – all three would be worthy of headlining.