Beissert - The Pusher
Agonia Records
Sludge/Rock and Roll
12 songs (50:24)
Release year: 2010
Official Myspace, Agonia Records
Reviewed by Charles
The promo stuff for this proudly displays a quote from Bard Faust, comparing this to a melting pot of “Hatebreed, Clutch, Danzig, Sepultura, Neurosis and Tool”, giving the impression that the ex-Emperor dude is giving us less a calculated assessment of the band’s sound, and more a list of bands he likes. At least half those acts seem to have little relevance here (the last three), but that quote does serve to give you the impression that this is a fairly varied swagger through territory that is at times mired in barky sludge and at times a little bit more fun.

Beissert are a German band with a possible case of identity issues, although the more charitable will call them eclectic. They refer to their tunes as ”Grim Warhymmes” in what is clearly a pretty tongue-in-cheek way, and quite often this sounds a little like they’re taking the piss (though who would dare to mock black metal, I have no idea). So, take Yggdrasil as one example of the general confusion of The Pusher. Opening with a briefly sweet, Laguna Sunrise-ish acoustic meander, this genteel composition is utterly desecrated by a splattering sub-Crowbar vomit of riffs and ugly, barbarous sludgecore vocals. But then it turns out what this song actually is is a singalong soft rock drivetime tune reminiscent of a geekier Foo Fighters. Then there is the boozy Saxon:Blood:Rock, with a chorus which feels like a Eurotrash version of Viking Skull with its tuneless alcoholic bellowing, and verses which twisty abstractly into different, unpredictable shapes. It’s kinda fun, actually, in an odd way.

The weaker tunes are where they try too hard to be the tough guys. They aren’t going to outmuscle or out-groove comparable sludge/doom bands (see the last Centurions Ghost for a recent example) because the riffs aren’t quite as hard or catchy. Thus title track The Pusher opens very intriguingly with an odd, folky percussive introduction, but in reality is a grooving slab of sludge metal that suffices but doesn’t excel: the vocals seem a little strained (particularly the clean ones), and the lead solo squeals away without quite gathering the punch you’d hope for. The unusual interludes (like an eerie breakdown into a child singing a nursery rhyme) seem less like innovation and more like window-dressing in this case.

I don’t mean to be too harsh here. Undoubtedly this is a fun record, and at times it does take on a character of its own. The “angry sludge with a lighter side” thing is a nice idea, and on some of the highlights identified above this is a distinctive and enjoyable album. It’s also quite unfocused though, and in its heavier moments seems to want to punch above its weight.

Killing Songs :
Saxon:Blood:Rock, Yggdrasil
Charles quoted 68 / 100
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