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Beseech - Souls Highway (CD)

Beseech
Souls Highway
by Amy La Salla at 18 March 2002, 6:21 AM

Beseech is no stranger to change.  Over the years they have weathered pressures that would have broken other groups into twigs: line-up changes, label difficulties, and of course the infamous creative differences issue.  Though the band has parted completely with their roots as a thrashy Death Metal band and embraced Goth, they still bear their signature shroud of depression. To that end, Souls Highway is like an anxiety attack captured on audio - more panic and mourning than Black Emotions' raucous anger.
Jorgen Sjφberg left Beseech in between albums and Erik Molarin was recruited to fill the male vocal duties. Though he sounds a bit like Peter Steele of Type O Negative fame, Erik's voice is deep and strong enough to carry tune after tune.  I am not completely happy with the change, however. The vocals are still good but are now mainly handled by Lotta, who appeared every now and then on previous albums singing back-up vocals.  While I like both Erik and Lotta, neither matches Jorgen's intensity.
There are pieces of instrumental music throughout the album that are just creepy enough to be right at home in a horror movie. Their sound urges you to join it in a slow, sad dance.
Time for the song by song breakdown:
Illusionate begins with an appropriate sound clip. Lotta is the lead vocalist on this song and her sweet, wistful voice compliments the grim music. Erik sings behind her in a more aggressive style. Their voices combine well and the guitar-work is very catchy.
Between The Lines a song about self-analysis if ever I heard one, is a heavier song and trades lead vocals between Lotta and Erik. The guitar-work is both crunchy and bouncy and I like the keyboards. Erik is the lead singer on the title track.  It is an angry and sometimes strangely upbeat song about suicide. The guitar-work is great on this song and their use of sound clips is impressive. Too many bands don't know how to do it right.
Blinded is a ballad that drinks you in and spits you out into the miseries of a failed relationship. Lotta and Erik trade off lead vocals in this song. It begins with the sound of rain falling, musically imitated by the tapping of drumsticks. Endless Water is my favorite song and has particularly beautiful guitar-work. Erik handles the lead on this tune. It is about a man who had died and is waiting for his beloved to join him. It isn't a very happy tune…but it is a good one.
Fiction City is a heavy tune sung mostly by Lotta about creativity and our need to share our thoughts. It has an angry, urgent vibe to it. The guitar-work chugs in a way that makes you feel you want to move. The lead-work is particularly good on this track.  
Sunset 28 is bleak song about a woman whose lover dies. The guitar-work chimes and the lyrics are heartbreaking. Lotta sings lead on Sunset 28 and as always Erik's voice burns behind hers. One of their best.
A Last Farewell would work particularly well as a horror movie track - it's about death and the fear of choosing heaven or hell. Erik and Lotta trade off lead vocals. It is despondant, with aggressive guitar-work, however, the keys and the way it is sung somehow causes you to feel the depression more than the anger. They both trade off vocals on A Season In Green too. It is a guitar-heavy song, but again, somehow manages to hit the weep button rather than the rage one. It is about losing someone you love. I really like the flute player, it just adds a little something extra to the song!
Beyond The Skies has great atmosphere, and is a soft, gothy instrumental. It is a perfect example of how well Beseech's music would work for a movie's soundtrack. It really pulls on your emotions and creeps you out. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme is the bonus track, both Erik and Lotta sing lead on it. It is an Abba cover and does exactly what a cover should do, puts a new spin on the song. I like it's crunchy, eerie tones.
I am really interested in seeing where Beseech will go with their new sound. I give them a 3.5 out of 5. If I hadn't heard Jorgen first, I probably would have given them a 4.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Illusionate
Between the lines
Souls highway
Blinded
Endless waters
Fiction city
Sunset 28
A last farewell
A season in green
Beyond the skies
Gimme gimme gimme (ABBA Cover featured on the limited edition CD)
Lineup:
Erik Molarin - Vocals
Lotta Hφglin - Vocals
Robert Vintervind - Guitars
Daniel Elofsson - Bass
Mikael Back - Keyboards
Jonas Strφmberg - Drums
Record Label: Napalm Records
     


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