Beardfish

The Void

01. Introduction
02. Voluntary Slavery
03. Turn To Gravel
04. They Whisper
05. This Matter Of Mine
06. Seventeen Again
07. Ludvig & Sverker
08. He Already Lives In You
09.  Note
10. Where There Lights Are Low

[08/28/12]
[Inside Out Records]

It can be argued that Beardfish has never written a bad album in their close to a decade career. Each release is a unique experience that grabs you with memorable melodies, masterful musicianship and brilliant, often relatable lyrics. Since 2006, the band has pumped out six albums — seven if you count their 2006 double-album The Sane Day twice. Has it ever come down to quantity over quality? Hell no! The Void is just another masterpiece in the band’s ever-expanding catalogue.

If there’s one adjective to describe The Void, it’s “gritty.” The mix leaves room for each instrument to be heard clearly and the distorted tones on the album seem to be achieved through overdriving speakers. The result is a massively heavy, vintage-meets-modern tone that stares right back at you with dead eyes and grey skin.

So, how heavy are we talking here? For starters, ‘Voluntary Slavery’ might as well jump out of your speakers and start furiously banging its head, while ‘Turn to Gravel’ keeps up a very sludgy, almost static-laden brand of doomy rock and roll. Then there’s ‘He Already Lives in You,’ which sounds like a Deep Purple B-side with a spoken word section by Satan himself. Beardfish is not afraid to show a very metal influence on The Void, sounding like a mixture of the usual classic progressive rock one comes to expect as well as the modern prog heavy weights Mastodon, and even a little Opeth.

Thanks to the band’s infallible ability to diversify their music, it’s not all a constant granular heaviness. The album’s instrumental ‘Seventeen Again’ feels like it could’ve been right off their 2009 effort Destined Solitaire, with its slightly goofy keyboard patches and loose groove. ‘This Matter of Mine’ is the perfect blending of old and new, as it stomps along furiously with the tone of The Void, only to turn around and begin dancing with a terrifying smile around the four-and-a-half minute mark with poppy-staccato grooves worthy of The Sane Day. ‘Ludvig & Sverker’ is what Sleeping in Traffic, Pt. 1 would sounds like had it been written during the Mammoth days; melodically focused and tinged with a heart-wrenching-ballad feel. Even the 15-minute epic ‘Note’ incorporates a lot of older, proggier Sleeping in Traffic moments.

This is not an album to listen to in passing; The Void demands attention. Each song differs from the last, offering focal points of an endless variety to keep you interested throughout. ‘Voluntary Slavery’ and ‘They Whisper’ beckon you to decipher all the intricacies of the instrumental tracks, while ‘Ludvig & Sverker’ entrances you with vocal melodies that’ll be stuck in your head for days. ‘Note’ is essentially an audible short film that takes you on an adventure on the bleak life of a man who’s seen a future devoid of anything worth living for, only for you to be whisked away into a comfortable darkness right after by ‘Where the Lights are Low.’

The Void is born in to a line of great albums with fantastic reputations, and fails to break tradition. Sure, there’s throwbacks to earlier sounds, but the presence of progression is certainly evident. Seven albums deep and keeping the musical conversation going strong!

Beardfish – The Void gets…

4.5/5

– GK

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