Monday, 27 May 2013

Beringia - Domesticated Animals EP (album review)

Cover Artwork by Ben Jackson
Yes folks, it's time once again to turn our collectively paranoid gaze southward to Stumptown, otherwise known as Portland, Oregon.  No longer a pit stop on the coast highway, it's multifarious art and music scenes have the city pegged as a destination for art and music lovers in and of itself.  Alright, I don't know much about these guys, except that Juan the guitarist is in another awesome band called Sioux who you can check out on the Eolian Empire comp (check it out, track 13).

Swinging bass strikes dribble in oddmetre like blood from hanging corpses.  Inquisitional intensity first squeezes and strangulates grooves before they  are given a chance to take off, then dismembers the notes, spraying them in unexpected directions across the length of the record.  Post-punk syncopation is taken to extremes, redecorating the foundations of this music in its own intestines.  'Domesticated Animals' is as aggressive as a jonesin' junky's knife thrusts, while still keeping a good head above the shoulders.  The end result is a messy kind of logic.

Beringia don't play their music any more than a latent serial killer plays with a dead bird on the side of the road.  They go to work on it, they attack it.  That aggression always sits right atop the surface, at times listening to 'Domesticated Animals' is like watching a street fight, it's exciting and scary with awkward choreography and you might just get thrown in from the sidelines and walk away with your feathers ruffled and your nose bloodied.  That's sure to happen while listening to opening track "Ghost Hunters", at the very least some of that dripping blood will get on you for sure.

Okay, so now that you've shaken hands with the pure visceral power of Beringia, follow me, step through this doorway into the bright light, and allow me to introduce to you, another side of the band.  It's not all madness, murder and mayhem here you know?  The first hints of it are introduced on "Ghost Hunters" during a short break in the middle of the song.  A calmness washes over the affair, a breath of clarity is taken, like a gasping swimmer with his head above the surface in a roiling mosh pit, taking in what he can before being inevitably pulled back down for another round.  I won't say it's a softer side, but Beringia offers the listener a gallery of visions.  Those little moments of clarity amid the brutality, chaos and confusion.

This view of the band through an alternative prism comes into full technicolor view on "Binary Monolithic Machine".  The song is bookended by some ambient passages that allow the listener to catch his breath.  You're going to need it for the rapid fire strikes of "Vacant Beast".

The band has a self-titled full-length LP already under their belts with a new one coming soon.  But this EP should loom large in their legend as a slice of experimental metal, which doesn't crawl up its own ass and actually delivers some songs you can sink your teeth into.  Shouting, muting, rapidfire scales and double kick which swing in and out like a pendulum blade, disjointed rhythms, visions of serene order within a limb-scattered war zone, these are the unique visions of Beringia.  Check these guys out if you think you can handle it by clicking the links on the player below, after all it's "Name Your Price".

Highlights include: "Ghost Hunters" and "Domesticated Animals"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 25:37

Ian (Lord Farthammer) Engblom- Vocals, Bass
Justin Lee Henry - Vocals, VoX
Ryan Stabach - Vocals, Drums
Juan Carlos Caceres - Vocals, Guitar

From: Portland, Oregon

Genre: Post-Punk, Metal

Reminds me of: Anciients, Godstopper, Red Fang

Release Date: February 24, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Out on the sea, caught in a rager, where you will wait patiently for your vision of clarity.

Beringia facebook
Beringia official website

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