Beastmilk – Climax

PromoImage4Label: Svart Records / Magic Bullet Records

Album stream: Via NME

This is the kind of album that could be a game-changer, and, with the right kind of marketing and promotion, absolutely huge. Truth be told, it already is something of a game-changer. The band can be tagged with a few different labels – goth, death-rock, and all sorts of post-punk – but their appeal seems set to transcend the usual genre lines. There’s been widespread praise from metal quarters for the band, aided by vocalist Kvohst having spent time in assorted metal bands (Code, Hexvessel, Dødheimsgard), and Fenriz himself helping introduce them to the world at large. The death-rock genre has been getting more attention recently, and I can’t help but feel that this is the album that will be a big breakthrough for all involved. It should be, as it deserves to be huge.

But then, why shouldn’t it appeal to metalheads – or, indeed, anyone at all? There’s plenty to enjoy amongst in these anthems steeped in imagery of sex, death, and apocalypse. Even a quick listen will make a few things clear: chiefly, that Kvohst has a fantastic singing voice, and that these songs are as catchy as anything you care to name. They’ll be in your head all day, and you won’t mind as they’re that damn good. You are now under our control? Absolutely.

Musically, it’s easy to point to a few references – there’s hints of The Smiths, Sisters Of Mercy, Danzig, Killing Joke, and the spectre of Joy Division inevitably hangs over any music of this style. Yet it never sounds like anyone other than Beastmilk, with the band taking these influences and using them to create something entirely their own. These are brilliant dark pop songs (in the same way that, say, Nine Inch Nails write pop songs, with clear verse-chorus-verse structures), with each one coming across as a potential anthem, be it the stomping, lust-filled Genocidal Crush, the darkness of Fear Your Mind, or the more ethereal, haunting Ghosts Out Of Focus. Almost any of the songs on the album could be a potential radio hit, filled as they are with a dark kind of sensuality that is a joy to hear, and that’s no bad thing. And there is a sense of joy to the album, albeit a dark, apocalyptic kind.

The Kurt Ballou production is impressive, too. It’s probably not the kind of music that you’d expect him to be involved with, yet he gives the record a sound that is both hugely reminiscent of the 80s, whilst sounding very modern in the best possible sense.

There’s little sense in singling out particular moments or instruments for praise, as this is the kind of album that is truly more than the sum of its parts and each song is a highlight. Everything – the music, the lyrics, the imagery, even the names of the band and record – combine to create something that is very impressive indeed, both in an immediate sense and if you scratch beneath the surface (this is one band where it’s well worth reading interviews with them). It’s an incredibly addictive record – I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to it since getting hold of it. There’s been a lot of excellent music released recently, and Climax is amongst the best.

Rating: 9.5/10

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