Beseech – My Darkness, Darkness (Despotz Records)Sunday, 28th February 2016
After a decade long silence, one of the earliest entries on the 1990’s Swedish gothic metal scene Beseech returns for their sixth studio album. My Darkness, Darkness not only features vocalist Klas Bohlin and guitarist Robert Vintervind from the original lineup as well as second guitarist Manne Engström who came in at the tail end of their original go-around, but three new members in the rhythm section and female singing departments – upping the fresh factor while not resting on their back catalog laurels.
The best bands in this genre capture melancholy and atmosphere in varied shades of emotion and dynamic waves – something Beseech waste no time getting to on the heavier to clean and back again opener “Beating Pulse”, where the snare hits often mirror a fluctuating heart beat as the guitars and keyboards create this sonic whirlwind that contains beauty and blissfulness through its minor chord progressions. The commercial aspects in terms of haunting vocal melodies and equally refined musical hooks that reach back into Bohlin’s love of psychedelic/garage rock, just put through more of an ethereal, gothic lens as most will be swept away by winning tracks like “Bloodline Fever” and Pink Floyd meets Type O Negative-ish “Darksome”.
The country supergroup The Highwaymen (featuring Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson) gets the Beseech treatment on “Highwayman”, a respectful gothic interpretation proving that the best songs can be transformed to other genres as long as care and respect go into the new arrangement. Even the wild western guitar lines and keyboard supplementation on the title cut conveys an assured sense of comfort, Bohlin and counterpart Angelina Sahlgren Söder weaving low, whisper-oriented vocal melodies in a hushed, lullaby manner. The birds, trees, woman with covered eyes, and water on the cover also paint thousands of images even before pressing play – another feather in the band’s cap for taking all aspects of an album’s appeal seriously.
Many will place Beseech now in more of a pop/gothic metal category, but to my ears these 11 tracks have just as much to do with Lake of Tears or latter day Tiamat as an act like H.I.M. Welcome back, Beseech – may this second chance be fruitful for all involved creatively and musically.