REVIEWED: Beggar - 'Compelled to Repeat'
We face a dilemma when we choose what music to listen to. Do we go for the visceral enjoyment that speaks to the general instinctual unconscious, or something that challenges the intellect in some way? Thus exists the average metal fan, never quite knowing what they want, in a constant state of flux. Happily, Beggar are here to show you don't have to be choosers when it comes to this sort of thing, combining lyrical themes inspired by Freud's 'Beyond The Pleasure Principle' where response to traumatic events resurface in compulsive behaviour together with a musical attack that's as satisfying at blowing eardrums as it is at blowing minds. It shouldn't really come as any surprise though, since the London foursome have had a string of EPs which have pretty much broken down crust into more interesting shapes, but this debut from the London-based foursome takes that very cross-indeed-over aesthetic into ever more interesting territory.
Take opener 'Blood Moon': opening with an ominous groove and then blastbeats that would have Converge dashing for cover before seamlessly seguing back into a fractured blues-infused riff by way of NOLA. It's the other satisfying aspect of Beggar that, musically, they are much smarter than they originally appear. Any idiot can put down a slamming beat with a scummy distortion pedal and tuning so low it produces troubling bowel movements. But this London mob take their musical inspiration from movements of a different kind, with a classy groove on 'Anaesthete' that sounds like a dive-bombing Down and with a particularly snarling vocal delivery that brings to mind an alarming pulsing neck vein. And then there's the bit which sounds likes Mastodon if they had never got signed to a major and became slower, meaner and more vicious. But to compare Beggar is to do them a great disservice, since their take on doom metal lifts them out of the mire above just comparing to this that or the other, like 'Black Cloud' thudding away with silky swing or 'Trepanned Head Stares At The Sun' taking elements of post-metal, or 'Tententless The Graves' sounding like hardcore fractured and reassembled. It all ends in the boiling melancholia of the title track, bruised and bloodied as it wades through the machine gun grindblast finale and final triumphant solo.
Quite simply 'Compelled To Repeat' is a masterpiece, encapsulating what we all love about metal: being blindsided by the vicious thrill of spiky riffs that have more hooks than a Cenobite's tackle box. Absolutely essential for those who are fans of filthy noise and intellectualistic poise all in one heady package.
'Compelled to Repeat' is out now on APF Records