Saturday, October 12, 2013


Svart Records

Expectations can lead you anywhere. They can a fancy flight of fantasy or a dangerous game of Russian Roulette. No matter what it was that I had hoped to get out of "Climax" or what it was that I had reasonably, or even unreasonably (in retrospect), expected to experience from Finland's Beastmilk, it still wasn't enough. This was still a strange occurrence where we find a band that has fashioned itself around the idea that thier music comes out of the cold and unrepeated wasteland that is a post-apocalyptic world. Recorded with the help of  Kurt Ballou (Converge), "Climax" is the first full-length release from Beastmilk and is an album that I struggle to fully-comprehend and yet wholeheartedly recommend. Formed back in 2010, during a "nuclear winter" in Helsinki, Finland no less, there are so many reasons why I love this release even if I've never been sure why it is that I continue to be drawn to music like this that is both damning and hopeful and haunting and beautiful. If you've ever heard "Gloomy Sunday" then this release is a straight-line drawn in it's own blood from that (reportedly) suicide-inspiring track to the post-post leanings of this 10-track LP. And of course it's a release that opens the door to so many more questions for which I have no answers. But, that hardly seems relevant to the chore at hand which is explaining what is it that I love about "Climax". I have to admit that at least vibe-wise I kept on thinking about the U2/Johnny Cash collaboration, "The Wanderer", which is off of U2's experimental album, "Zooropa" . It's as if Johnny sings "I went out walking under an atomic sky. Where the ground won't turn and the rain it burns like the tears when I said goodbye" as a means of prophesying the coming of  Beastmilk and their 2013 album, "Climax". Now, as I've danced around the topic at hand for far too long already let us expand on that "post-punk" tag that is affixed to Beastmilk. Not once could I have anticipated the near flood-like list of bands that swept over me as I listened to the apocalyptic flavorings of   "Climax". Their seems to be no shortage of bands that make their home in the music of Beastmilk. While the group itself  lists local "old-school legends" such as Nolla Nolla Nolla and Radiopuhelimet (neither of which I'm familiar with) it's bands like Christian Death, Killing Joke, Christian Death, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Psychedelic Furs, Magazine, Gang Of Four, Joy Division (or at least Joy Division on suicide watch),  Peter Murphy solo and with Bauhaus and even a more rock-oriented Depeche Mode that come to mind when listening to "Climax". As if that's not enough there is even some signs that both The Misfits and The Cure may have played a part in the early formation of Beastmilk's (sorrowful) sound. Of course anytime you have a group like Beastmilk that approaches rock music from the perspective of the lost and lonely, or in this case (theme-wise) the unfortunate survivors of an all out global-war,  you're faced with the reality that it's not for everyone. Still, those who embrace the early years of post-rock and dark rock should give "Climax" a chance as this is a album that sounds both old-fashioned and modern.

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