Let’s get this out the way; Climax (Svart) by Beastmilk is pure hero worship of a whole clutch of 80’s influences. I heard all the originals many times in between figure-of-eighting to ‘Temple of Love’ and ‘Moonchild’ at The Dungeon goth club in South-fucking-hampton and had long since moved on. Yet, hearing them now put together by a new, yet highly referential outfit, the interest is well and truly piqued, and got me in the mood to go back to the originals. Can’t ask for more than that…
Beastmilk are one of those strange (milky) beasts that don’t play metal but have been embraced by the metal community. Whether that’s because vocalist Kvohst has history in blacker climes (Dødheimsgard and Code) or because it takes those us approaching middle age back to our youth and experiments in painting fingernails black (once! I did it once! Same as the white silky frilly shirt! I’ll admit the leather trousers were worn until they fell apart though), or because you can’t argue with really good songs, whatever the style.
Launching with the energetic punky trio of Cure meets The Smiths ‘Death Reflects Us’, standout track ‘The Wind Blows Through The Skulls’ and the catchy ‘Genocidal Crush’, memorable song after memorable song continues, with the exceptions of the maudlin (and frankly dreary) ‘Ghosts Out of Focus’ and perhaps ending downer ‘Strange Attractors’. From ‘Nuclear Winter’ to ‘Surf The Apocalypse’ to ‘Lost In A Cold World’ Climax is a series of strong death-rock anthems, all of them driven on by an energetic and strong production from Kurt Ballou and an 8th-note peddling goth-punk bassline (Arino)overlaid with the jangly and dreamy guitars of Goatspeed (WTF? – ST), while Kvohst switches from Morrissey to Glenn Danzig to Ian Curtis, nailing the ideal style for the mood and section of the song.
As an added side-game you can play ‘spot-the-80’s’ reference as Bauhaus, Killing Joke and most prominently Joy Division (amongst others) raise their post-punk gothic-rock heads, but when the songs are this impressive, it matters not the amount of homage being paid, what matters is how good an album this is. And Climax is a very good album indeed.