First up on the chopping block today sits Russia’s BJARM.  Forming in 2009,
“IMMINENCE” is their first full length album, following the “DEFECT” demo from
2010 and was released on CD by
FONO LTD. in 2014. Their full length debut is a ten
track opus, amassing a play time of just over 50 minutes. Pagan Metal and the Eastern
European and Russian Metal scene have become almost synonymous these past couple of
decades and rightly so, there’s always good stuff to be had therein. Andrey of
already having logged time in other Pagan / Black Metal bands like
FENRIR.  To that end, with “IMMINENCE” BJARM certainly are along the hallowed
path taken before them by giants like
though mixing in a few other aspects drawn from outside the sub genre. The main vocal
line, right off, is much more akin to the more traditional Death Metal genre, but do vary
with the presence of two separate vocal lines (see “Ominous Dreams“).  The latter being
much more in the Black Metal tradition.  Its almost as if you get the vocal delivery of
early Chris Barnes with a backing of early
EMPEROR era, Ihsahn. The main vocal line
does tend to grow on me however. Throughout the first few tracks, it seems a bit forced,
but overall I believe they work well. It fits much better in with the mix of Pagan Metal
than do the vocals of say
AMON AMARTH. The rest of the record is much more
between the lines, traditional Pagan Metal with the odd break from more
ish keyboard / female vocal passages. Alongside the usual instrumentation of most Pagan
Metal releases, it's also pleasing to see that
BJARM can write a quality song as well as
supply the song with sound. The track “Fire Lord’s Torment” could be used as a great
example of this. A good record to be sure, especially if you’re a fan of the bulk of the
NAPALM RECORDS catalog circa 2006, “IMMINENCE” would be a safe bet for you.  
The keyboards and female vocals taking it slightly out of the
range. Someone coming from the more underground Pagan / Black Metal sound will
probably be put off by the more commercial trappings, but for those with a passion for
the upper end of the Pagan Metal spectrum, I would say “IMMINENCE” by
a quality choice.

                                                                                              -Reviewed by Keith Dempe