Good morning. Kind of gloomy today, feels like a blackened-death-sludge kind of day. Join me for a brief trip down memory lane as we reminisce about the last two Beldam records, in preparation for their first-ever live album coming this Friday!
Beldam – Still the Wretched Linger (HPGD Productions, 17 June 2016)
Beldam – Pasung (HPGD Productions, 26 January 2018)
Beldam – Live at the Golden Pony (HPGD Productions, 17 December 2021)
Beldam, meaning “witch” or “malevolent old woman,” grabbed my attention in a big way when their Horror Pain Gore Death debut came out, a little over five years ago. The title Still the Wretched Linger brings to mind another record I enjoyed very much, Who Linger by These Are They. And stylistically that isn’t terribly far off, as there are certainly dark and doomy death metal influences to be found here amidst the heavy deathly sludge. Also plentiful: killer bass riffs and nasty vocals that would seem exactly at home in a song like “Where the Slime Lives,” for an overall combo that comes across rather Indian-esque.
Having relocated from Virginia to Seattle, the band and HPGD kept on trucking in 2018 with Pasung (named for the Indonesian word for physical restraint of a mentally ill patient) — continuing on in a similar style as the previous opus, although here there has been a change in the line-up (perhaps as a result of the relocation) with the original vocalist being swapped out for another. While this hasn’t been a drastic stylistic shift, Pasung does tend to employ Graves at Sea-style dual vocals (one very deep growl set against one that’s more of a snarled screech) far more often. Also found in a few spots here are introductory clean guitar parts that sound ever-so-slightly detuned, just the faintest hint of discordance, before leading into the gut-punching nastiness and wretchedness that ultimately led this album into my list of that year’s top releases.
Which brings us back to the present time: tomorrow HPGD will be unleashing Live at the Golden Pony, recently unearthed at a time when bands have been struggling to get out there and play in front of people. A recording of a show Beldam had performed in their original hometown of Charlottesville, in the year between the releases of the two albums we’ve just listened to, Golden Pony presents a collection of hits from those two albums, just amped up a little bit more — which will be available digitally or on CD, or even bundled with a t-shirt featuring the cover art, at Bandcamp.
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