Like a fine red wine, London-based BEGGAR have gotten better with age to become an exciting addition to the UK’s impressive metal scene, thanks largely to the addition of a Frenchman.
The band initially started out in 2011 as, in their words, “a messy, ever-so-slightly-hardcore sludge thing,” that largely scared people away. But have put those early struggles well behind them with a beastly new sound that they thrillingly describe as “wretched, oppressive and violent.”
On the early days, the band explain: “We failed a Battle of the Bands in 2013, used rubbish gear, broke hundreds of strings, and lost a drummer to the call of a better life. Back then the music was rough, trashy, and slightly too fast. But, like a good red, we matured soon enough and started down-tuning, slowing down, and thinking more about what we wrote.”
The lineup of Charlie Davis (vocals/bass), Abe Whitworth (guitars) and Jake Leyland (guitars/vocals) added French drummer Bert, who formerly played with Deathgrind band Sedative, to the mix in 2016, and set about honing a deliciously heavy blackened, grind-infused sludge sound.
And we got a good taste for the result of this on Black Cloud, which we played you on the fourth episode of our podcast GigRadio last week. It starts out with filthy low tuned guitar that kicks into chugging guitar riff under huge screamed vocals. That gives way to a cool darting riff over masses of cymbals, then continues under a return of intense vocals.
It soon drops into a section of booming guitars that flow into high-pitched descending guitar over unrelenting drums. The drums eventually drop out then a slow and deliberate riff plods away under slower drums, before a big high-pitched solo takes over to bring the track to an end.
The track has since been followed up by new single Blood Moon, which starts with lingering guitar notes that dive into lively riffs and savage drums and a big scream. Fast repeating guitars and drums then support brief screams, before wild drums drop into a section of low-tuned guitars that end on bass drum.
That welcomes in some scary vocals, then huge drum rolls between little diving guitar riffs. The band’s intriguing sound sees a big blues-infused guitar solo take over, before launching into a massive mass of noise to bring it to a close. It’s superb, and you can give it a listen below:
Special mention has to go to Take A Leaf, from the band’s first EP in 2017, because it’s an absolute banger. Give it a listen here:
Both of the aforementioned new singles come ahead of the launch of new album Compelled To Repeat on 3 April, on which the band tell us: “The album has been ready to go for a while now, so we’re all uber-psyched to get it out there. The response to Black Cloud and our release in November 2019, Nine Atmospheres, has been encouraging, so we just want to shower you with our nice songs now.
“In many ways the album is a curve-ball. We don’t subscribe to a particular genre, and the album displays the entirety of our influences. It is extremely heavy – much more so than earlier EPs – with a lot of blasts, guitar solos and absolutely demonic vocals from Charlie. The production makes for an oppressive listen, and it’s a varied album that won’t allow you to get too comfortable, but at the same time it’s quite a lot of fun.”
Expanding further on their blackened sludge, the band tell us: “It’s an amalgam of genres that doesn’t fall under one category. Aside from the black/grind aesthetics, we also incorporate some grunge and classic rock elements. To add to this, Charlie has a vast vocal register so we really played on that in the recording process, using multiple layers, and even some spoken word, which – lame-as-shit though it may sound – works brilliantly in the few places it has been incorporated.
“We often get associated with Iron Monkey, Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, etc… which is all fairly accurate. But we hope that, in a few places, it reaches beyond the classic parameters of these beastly metal bands.”
The band has a long list of rock and metal bands that influence their sound, from the likes of Meshuggah, Napalm Death, Pantera and Morbid Angel through to Rage Against The Machine, Led Zeppelin, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden.
And when it comes to what inspires thier music, they explain: “Lyrically, this album is very much about how London is a colossal pressure-cooker of post-capitalist despair. It speaks about the psychological impacts of living there, and, more broadly, the view out onto the disintegrating world from there. It’s bleak as hell, but we hope that the music is sufficiently dynamic and explorative to make the whole experience satisfying in a kind of misanthropic way.
You can see BEGGAR for yourself as they embark on a little tour across the country at the end of this month. It kicks off at The Dev in Camden next Thursday (26 March), followed by gigs on consecutive nights at The Old England in Bristol, Record Junkee in Sheffield and Riffolution Fest in Manchester (from 27 to 29 March). More info and tickets is here.
They also have a string of exciting festival dates through the summer, including Stonebaked in Leeds, Fogfest in London, and Obscene Extreme Festival in Czech Republic. And they’ll be on a mini-tour with their label mates Desert Storm in November, which will take the band to Scotland for the first time.
And on what to expect from the band live, they tell us: “We don’t look like your standard metal band, so don’t expect tattoos and big bellies. Bert likes to wear H&M t shirts, and Abs often turns up to gigs wearing 60s sheepskin coats. But the reason you should come and see us is because our live shows are where this music really comes to life. In a deafening coffin of a venue you will have your brain served to you on a plate and feel better for it. We really try to make every set as tight and crushing as possible.”