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Beldam: Pasung

It’s often said that one of the things we’re all looking for bands to do is something different, something daring, something that doesn’t fall into the category of ‘safe’. Pasung is sure as hell not safe and, while Candlemass, My Dying Bride or Mistress Of The Dead can be dropped into any conversation about Beldam, none of those acts sound like this. In fact, other than Beldam, I’m not sure anyone does.

Having spent months in pre-production and made countless sacrifices to sharpen the blade of their music, a band that is maybe best described as extreme sludge offer up something that is far from an easy ride. Countless weeks down the line of having first experienced Pasung, I can’t honestly say that I’ve come close to unravelling all of an album that doesn’t just keep its cards close to its chest, but which tears them up, burns them, buries the ashes and then obliterates the ground they’ve been placed in, for fear that the likes of “Shed The Coil” or “Carrion Feast” allow the merest hint of their message to sift too easily through the mire. And yet, with all that in mind, the effort required to force your way into this collection’s world is rewarded with a twisted, hammerfist of crawling laments that will haunt you for days.

Vocalist and lyricist Randall Guidry twists the knife, a croaking, rasping, violent whisper allowing the words to hit home as you decipher them. At first, it has to be said that the depth and patience of his approach feels a little too forced and removed, but as you unlock the barrage of sound, so it becomes more and more clear just how vital he is to what’s being played out. The rest of the band is comprised of guitarist and bassist Graham Reynolds and drummer Cullen Wade, the pair a slow motion whirlwind of fury that pours down with real force during “Vial Of Silence” and “Sunken Sorceress”. Bassist Addison Dodds makes a brief appearance on “One From The Stable”, as Reynolds turns his focus fully on six strings rather than four, but the cohesion and unrelentingly riotous control continues unabated.

With only six tracks included, the final one being the no less worthy “That Which Consumes You”, the other major factor here is that each piece presented is a lengthy, theatric experience which is worthy of the time they are given to evolve, while stubbornly refusing to do things at any other pace than that which was originally chosen. That in itself shows the brave bold decisions taken on Pasung, but for some it may also be just too much for the less committed to bear. For while this album is proudly defiant and defiantly different, if you don’t click with it, what’s presented will soon become impenetrable anathema. And for all the huge amounts of praise that I’ve rightly heaped on Pasung, there is no denying that many onlookers will be utterly baffled by its appeal. Arguably that’s exactly what should occur when you’re presented with something which challenges your preconceptions and doesn’t really give a damn if you can handle the results.

Track Listing
1. Vial of Silence
2. Sunken Sorceress
3. Shed the Coil
4. One From the Stable
5. Carrion Feast
6. That Which Consumes You

Added: July 1st 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Beldam on bandcamp
Hits: 878
Language: english

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