Release DetailsLABEL Napalm Records
RELEASED ON 1/26/2004
posted on 12/2003 By:
With scores of snoozers like Tiamat’s recent Prey plaguing the gothic rock genre, it’s always nice to find a band who knows how to keep intact the core ideas of the style but still write enough interesting music to fill an album. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve got a weakness for catchy and well-written gothic rock. From the first time I heard Type O Negative back when I was just a wee young teen, I’ve been hooked. Unfortunately, the good-to-bad ratio in the genre is growing smaller and smaller with old greats losing their fire and a plethora of new bands appearing and offering neither anything exciting or even very enjoyable. Beseech is one of few goth-rockers that hasn’t yet fallen prey to lethargic monotony, following up 2002’s great Souls Highway with another energetic and completely solid release, Drama. All aspects of Drama are a continuation of its predecessor; there’s nothing so strikingly different as to upset the purist fans, but there are enough nice new touches to make it clear that the band refuses to stagnate. Almost all of the new additions to the sound are good, most notably the subtle and tasteful use of electronics in most of the songs. They never overpower the rest of the music like they’re prone to doing so much of the time, but when in use they’re always apparent and useful to the song. To keep things diverse, there’s also a good deal of industrial influence throughout the album. The song Addicted is the most obvious example of this; the beginning of the sound wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a KMFDM album and the precise, almost mechanical sounding beat goes throughout giving it a cold and harsh feel. It’s quite a contrast from the warm tones on the rest of the album, and is a great change of pace. While this is the most obvious use of their new-found liking for industrial, there are other places on the album where the sound is apparent but less blatant, for example the second and seventh songs, Higher Level and Come On In, respectively. The next two improvements, those of most importance in my opinion, can be linked together. Those are the production and the guitar tone. While Souls Highway had perfectly acceptable production, it’s been taken to a whole new level on Drama. While hearing the final mix of the album, I doubt if the band had any complaints. Everything sounds how it should, at just the right volume, with just the right amount of punch to it; nothing does anything more or less than I would imagine it’s supposed to. The guitar tone has, likely thanks to the great production job, one of the best sounds I’ve heard on a heavy album in quite some time. The distorted electric has just enough punch but still maintains clarity and the acoustic guitar parts are crisp throughout with an ever so slight grinding feeling on the lower pitched strummed chords. The finest moment, guitar-wise, is in the song Forever Falling. It features a beautiful, if simplistic solo that’s executed perfectly and sounds wonderful. With a paragraph as long as the last one about the upsides of the album, there doesn’t seem to be much room for any complaints, but there is one. While Type O Negative is the band that got me into metal in the first place, I don’t really ever like mimicry and the male vocalist in Beseech seems to want nothing more than to emulate Pete Steele. Luckily the male vocals are at least relatively sparsely used and this Type O infatuation doesn’t influence songwriting but for the song Voices (and it’s still quite a good song, just not very original). It’s certainly not a big enough complaint to ruin an album, it just gets a bit overly dramatized and occasionally cheesy to hear such imitation. Still, despite the one small downside, the whole album is extremely strong and well worth giving a listen. If you’ve ever found yourself jamming out to Tiamat’s better moments, The 69 Eyes, H.I.M. or any similar sounding bands, do yourself a favor and find yourself a copy of Beseech’s Drama when it hits stores, it’s not likely to disappoint.
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