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Apocalyptic Blues

Climax Review + New Video

Label: Svart Records

It’s hard to talk about Finnish post punkers Beastmilk’s much hyped debut album Climax without playing the ‘spot the 80s musicians’ reference game. The influence of Echo & The Bunnymen, Morrissey, Joy Division and Danzig is readily apparent when listening to Beastmilk’s rattling gothic rock, but there is something more to this album, something not so necessarily quantifiable, that sets it apart from simple nostalgic throwback music.

Maybe it’s the undeniably modern and hard rocking production from Massachusetts musical mastermind Kurt Ballou, guitar freak for hardcore luminaries Converge and engineer and owner of God City Studios, responsible for producing pretty much every great hardcore album released in the past decade or so.

Or maybe it’s that the time vocalist Kvohst has served fronting legendary British/Norwegian black metal bands Code and Dodheimsgard has granted him a greater sense of theatricality and immediacy and a bigger set of balls than your average gloomy pale post-punkers ever had.


Whatever it is, it has certainly struck a chord with a wide and varied audience. Climax has the strength to appeal to fans of those original post punk and gothic new wave acts, to fans of newer death rock bands like Spectres and Soror Dolorosa who are also stretching the sonic possibilities of melodic icy gloom, and even to extreme metal fans turned on to Beastmilk via bandmembers’ past work and by the unbeatable recommendation of Darkthrone legend Fenriz, who touted the band way back in 2010 on the strength of nothing more than a two track cassette demo. Hell, this album even has the catchiness and energy to break through to the indie mainstream (however oxymoronic that phrase may be).

So does it live up to the hype? Uh, yeah. If you haven’t been able to gather, this album fucking rocks. The songs are bigger and better than before and shine under Ballou’s crystal production. The bass thrums with a stadium-sized echo, the guitars churn out achingly melodic lines and chords both jagged and dreamy, the drums propel the whole thing with tribal dexterity, and Kvohst croons like he hasn’t been ravaging his vocal cords for years in metal bands.

Despite their obvious sonic disparities, post-punk/gothic rock and metal have always shared a corner on the darker side of the musical spectrum. With all its dance-iness and at times gentle beauty, post-punk has nevertheless always been a home for those of not-so-sunny dispositions, and Beastmilk go further to bridge the gap between the two genres’ nihilism and morbid preoccupations, with track titles like ‘Death Reflects Us’, ‘Love In A Cold World’, ‘Nuclear Winter’, and ‘Surf The Apocalypse’. Beastmilk even frequently label themselves as ‘apocalyptic post-punk’, and it is a totally apt title. Not only do their lyrics feature no shortage of end-of-the-world imagery, but their music is the perfect sonic embodiment of a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter, a frozen wasteland littered with cold guitars, rumbling bass and drums and the soaring sorrow of Kvohst’s mournful vocals, but with enough force and energy to indicate that these survivors aren’t going out without a fight.

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