The Wednesday Sludge: BELDAM Drags Us Down To The Dark Depths Where Still The Wretched Linger
Who here likes their sludge metal just a bit creepier and unsettling? If that’s you then you’re in for a treat for this week’s The Wednesday sludge. Hailing from central Virginia, I’m excited to share with ya’ll the soul dragging sludge and doom of Beldam.
Formed in 2013, their first major release Still The Wretched Linger (Horror Pain Gore Death) made its way out the dark depths of 2016. With influences ranging from Eyehategod, High on Fire, and Primitive Man, Beldam takes on a wretched assault through their music. Digging through the lyrical dirt of despair and pain, there is a sincere somber energy that flows and crushes throughout these bangin’ jams. You won’t find anything cute or light here, but only an atmosphere of suffering.
Still The Wretched Linger is a splendid mix of these two forces of dirty as fuck sludge, and ethereal doom auras. Tracks like “The Foundling” trudge with distorted and deep tones, breaking at times to allow a misty (even beautiful) whirl to play with the grime. This being said, we’re here for the goddamn sludge, and when it comes to Beldam we get some of the most authentic and deafening sounds to be found. Opening track “Needles” begins with slow, churning tones that come down like stomping through mud. Progression has a physical weight, as if a body were trying to free itself from drowning. This gives way to some killer thick grooves that add a layer of hectic energy.
Every part of Beldam has this terrific dark sense to it (never appearing cheesy or playful). From death-ridden tones and vocals, to thick instrumentation with terrific depth, to even the creepy as hell cover art. Everyone in this band is on point with getting the feeling of these songs across. Strong drive in drums and bass meets emotional power from guitars and vocals in Beldam.
“From Grave To Cradle” kicks off an unsettling intro with distortion, following up with more of that sinister groove from the abyss. Vocally the song shows off the balance between mucky groove and high doom shrieks. All of this is backed by a haunting somber flow, giving a strong funeral vibe. I appreciate the balance between styles, because not only do they sound great, but they cater to breaking up pattern. Within these genres you can find bands that stick to one consistent structure, and it can kill the heaviness. In the case of Beldam however, we find great use of structure that takes hold of various auras and sounds, all that reach the same goal of gloom. “Salamander” changes some things up by tossing in a rock and roll rhythm, sticking to the band’s idea of groove, and using lighter tones when rising. After spending the majority of the track following with this pattern, the band rips a new one by kicking the gears into full force for a thrilling ending.
Beldam isn’t your typical boozy driven and grit sludge, but one more saturated in emotion, entwined in darkened elements. While they are fairly new with Still The Wretched Linger, the album has certainly taught me that we should be keeping an eye on these folks for more killer sludge to come.
The record is available for purchase via the Horror Pain Gore Death Bandcamp, or HPGD website. You can follow the band’s upcoming shows and work via Facebook. And if you want to listen to Still The Wretched Linger right away, look no further than below!