Written by Alex
- Compelled To Repeat
- Sludge Metal
- London, UK
- April 3rd, 2020
This record is interesting to say the least. Beggar have made a record that dips its toes into a lot of different genres while never really submerging in one. Despite being a mixed bag, the record does work quite a bit better than I thought it might. My first few listens through, I found it a little jarring to be jumping all over the place sound-wise but I do appreciate more and more what was trying to be done. The band have created a sound that is sludgy and doom-laden while keeping a nice edge to give the record its unique atmosphere. Not everything works flawlessly but the band made a lot of bold choices and I commend them for that.
I want to get the issues I have with this record out of the way first. So, as with a lot of music in the stoner-type genre, the riffs do start to blend together somewhat for me as the record goes on. There are reprieves to this with some cool classic rock-like guitar solos and even some grindcore sections. But these ideas aren’t used enough to mitigate the problem mentioned before. I wanted all of these different ideas to have been equally committed to instead of just played around with here and there.
With all that being said, I do think this record is more positive than negative. The production is a real highlight for me. They’ve managed to achieve a perfect happy medium between crisp, clear production and a grimy lo-fi sound. There’s also a heavy layer of fuzz that covers everything in a way that works and doesn’t bother me as it sometime would. The vocal performance is the other massive win. The vocalist has such a large range of techniques and tones on display throughout the record. He pulls off everything from Converge-like abrasive screams, to guttural vocals, to even some cool barked passages. There’s a good use of stacked vocals in places that adds even more to my intrigue with the vocals.
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The instrumentals are all over the place but in a way that doesn’t feel forced or like the band was trying too hard to create the sound. The transitions between different genres is near seamless, the first track on the record is a great example of that. I think it’s pretty impressive to be able to blend grindcore and stoner doom riffs together without it sounding forced. The classic rock inspired guitar solos add yet another side to an already multifaceted soundscape. I also get a lot of High on Fire influence in the guitar tone. There are some sections that are rather sinister sounding that work as a nice juxtaposition to the tone of the rest of the record. The way the vocals interact and play off the instruments was cool to hear, you can tell that they are songwriters who aren’t afraid to take risks.
So to wrap it up, Beggar are a cool band and this is a cool record. It impressive that they’ve made everything work as well as it does. While I usually don’t like stoner/doom/sludge, this record has made me look at the genres with a little more interest than before. I don’t think every idea was fully realized and things were definitely left underdeveloped in places, but Beggar have crafted something here that holds promise of great things in the future.
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