Barbary Lion is the first release from Secret Archives of the Vatican, since the Dreams and Visions EP in October 2010, and the first full-length album since Remembering Machine in February 2009.

This loose collective of musicians describe their music as Transglobal Breakbeat Dub Science as it contains elements of many genres: breakbeat, dub, dubstep, drumstep, triphop, drum and bass, with Indian, Arabian and Turkish influences. It’s certainly an exotic blend.

The album begins with “Veiled Beauty, Dark Magic”, which starts subtly, and then hits you with with the bass-kicking funky groove that drives the track. Arabic strings, tablas, and drum & bass beats are all added to excellent effect, but it’s the bass that sets the tone for the rest of this album.

“West of Eden”, starts with the same arabic feel, but then morphs into a groove that The Prodigy would be proud of.  Secret Identity” lulls you into a false sense of security with it’s quiet opening, but there’s a lovely bass wobble that’s just waiting to get you.  “Mesopotamian Homesick Blues” is a track that’s been around for a little while now. This carries on that lovely bass wobble from “Secret Identity” and overlays some arabic samples on top.

Whenever I hear “The Empty Quarter” I always think I’m playing a video game and have just entered a new land, complete with Palm Trees, Orange Groves and houses with those distinctive blue doors. In the distance a holy man is in deep contemplation, As you get closer, he rises to his feet and begins to spin. Slowly you join the bass fueled dervish and find your own groove.

“Hunter’s Moon” is a track that simply must be played loud on decent headphones or on a decent hi-fi with a sub-woofer. Playing this on your iPod on the train will simply not do the track the justice it deserves.  Check your speed if you’re playing this in the car – you will be driving too fast.

“Radagast in the East” harks back to the earlier influences of SAotV, with an arabic infused reggae groove, that will have you skanking in no time. “Enter Unseen” is about as close as SAotV ever get to “traditional” dubstep with it’s 2-step beat, but it’s never about the obvious with these guys. They have their own unique sound and it’s just great.

“Summer Lightning” begins with a musical call that could almost have come from a muezzin, which then fuelled by that signature bass wobble, calls you to sway to the beat. The final track is “Ravens Will Feed You”, which starts off with a dub reggae feel and then overlays with arabic strings, pipes and piano to round the album off to an excellent close.

Like all musical collectives, SAotV’s music varies along with the musical influences and strength of input from the musicians. Like a well-crafted blend of spices from the bazaar in Marrakech, this album brings together those influences and mixes them into that perfect marinade to spice up your musical mealtimes.

Time to play the album again? Oh yes!

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Link to Release Page at Bandcamp

Link to SAotV at Broken Drum Records