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BEAST’s second album is a highly polarised one, balancing low bass guitars with a soaring vocal range, as well as high and low rock-rooted tempos. “Bardo” also welcomes their new drummer Werner Von Waltsleben, whose versatility and style has brought a new and welcome aspect to BEAST.
The album starts with ‘Healer’, where the band lurches head-first into an impossibly huge chorus only thirty six seconds in. It’s slow and heavy, a musical aesthetic that BEAST has become known for. However this album is so much more than simply a repackaged version “Smoke Swig Swear”, as their new songs feature a much deeper lyrical exploration.
‘Vesica Piscis’ features a full-on blues solo played on a bass as if it were a regular electric guitar, courtesy of Rian Zietsman. In addition, there are sections that are dramatic and sinister, nodding to Inge Beckmann’s ability to evoke stark, dramatic emotions through her vocals.
‘Black Hole’ stands out for its obscurity and in doing so, shows off the collective creativity of Beast – Inge’s verse-vocals are reminiscent of a dramatic opera unfolding, whereas in the chorus they sound gloriously sinister. Werner shows a bit of fancy footwork with a crazy cross-rhythm in the pre-chorus, and of course Rian and Louis Nel add a massive wall of low-end. Next to that you have the album’s biggest surprise, ‘Chant’, which is a two-and-a-half minute track complete with complex, traditional vocal harmonies and a simple, repetitive djembe beat.
“Smoke Swig Swear” may have made me fan but “Bardo” has made me a believer.
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Stream “Bardo” on Deezer.