Saturday 19 July 2014

First Contact Pt.2 - Beggar/Idre

This double review was meant to go out before I went away, but time got the better of me and I had to   put it on hold. I didn't want to stop as I was gaining some good momentum reviews wise, but I felt that I needed a break, as I've already written nearly 100 reviews this year on the blog! I've also just breached the 150,000 reader mark which is nice. Thanks to everyone for reading and caring!

This is the second part of my run of First Contact features, which focuses on new bands that have contacted me directly via the blog. This part features Bristolian blues metallers Beggar and Oklahoma  City noise makers Idre.

Beggar - Beggar II

Beggar have been together since 2012 and already released their first EP in May 2013. They have been a staunch member of their local Bristol scene since their inception and have been lucky enough to support bands like Svalbard, Let's Talk Dagger and Controlled Existence along the way. It seems that they're now looking to spread their music further afield, as they got in touch with me and sent over a CD copy of their new EP. In this day and age full of digital promos and MP3's, it's a nice touch when a band favours physical promotional tools.


1. Live Like Kings
2. Rut Like A Hog
3. Aphasia
4. Knuckledragging
5. Leper's Mass
6. The Way Out

Nowt like a bit of blues filled metal to start my summer holiday off. Beggar are loud in all departments as Live Like Kings kicks in.Those riffs are the first thing that hits you, alongside the crashing of cymbals and the loud screams (that sound like they are coming through a megaphone!). The way the vocals are delivered, sitting high in the mix, gives the song on off-kilter feel that reminds me a bit of early Clutch. On Rut Like A Hog (and the rest of the EP), a lot of care has obviously gone into making sure the guitars sound at their best. After all, they provide the musical heft. The vocals here slide more into sludge territory, which is a sing of things to come. Aphasia is chaotic right from the get-go. It’s also the first song where Beggar get to settle into a proper groove. That off-kilter feel is still there, but they seem to finding their focus. The introspective instrumental passages mid-way through provide some time for variation, before Beggar switch back to their ever-exhausting sludge.

Surprisingly, Knuckledragging takes Beggar in a new direction, replete with clean vocals and really nice bluesy riffs. There’s dissonance still present later on but that just bridges the verses. The extended semi-improv drumming during Knuckledragging shows real ambition by the band to write clever and interesting songs. On Leper’s Mass, Beggar slow things right down to a doom inspired crawl. At just over eight minutes in length, it harnesses great lead work, before the low end takes over and drags the tone down. The vocals here are suitably extreme, with deep death-metal inspired growls alongside those more familiar screams. It’s really cool to hear some vocal variation here and it fits their music well. The earlier megaphone-like screams I mentioned made sense in the earlier songs, but couldn’t really have been sustained through the rest of the EP, so adding other elements is a smart move. Add to that the brilliant musicianship that holds the song together and Beggar really are onto something.

The EP goes by really quickly and before you know it, closer The Way Out is blasting through. It’s another loud tome that takes it’s cues from Beggar II’s opener. It epitomises their bluesy, noisy metal and shows of their mature musicianship one final time. Beggar have really surprised me. I came into this review with no prior knowledge of the band or how they sound, but left it with a massive smile on my face. Beggar are doing everything right in my opinion. From their obvious love of playing live, to their ambition to spread their music that takes advantage of both digital and traditional means, to the the music itself, which features stellar production and enough promise to hopefully propel Beggar into a lot more faces in the future. 

Beggar II is available to stream and to pick up as a pay-what-you-want download below:-

There is also the option to pick up a CD copy for just £1.50 (or more)! It's definitely worth it.

Beggar Facebook -

Idre - S/T

It's now stupidly hot and humid here and my review space, while indoors, isn't any cooler. I've retreated indoors to write about, Idre are another new band that have recently come to my attention. They are from Oklahoma and released their debut self-titled album in May via Dust House Records. They channel the influences of Neurosis and Khanate amongst others and they have recently had the pleasure of playing alongside the always awesome Primitive Man and Pinkish Black at various gigs so far this year. Their debut features two songs spread over almost forty minutes.


1. Factorie
2. Witch Trial

Idre start with Factorie, which is a slow-building, winding post-metal piece with clean guitar reminiscent of Ennio Morricone and his Western soundtracks. It’s no surprise then that Idre are influenced by the man himself. The vocals are low and almost goth-like in delivery but again they remind you of the aforementioned Westerns. At nearly 27-minutes long, Factorie is a journey of multiple parts that ebb and flow, through guitar feedback and moments of near silence. The instrumentation is very assured and while at times the use of drone breeds repetition, the music is always interesting. The use of doom orchestration to slow things down further creates a solemn atmosphere that is only picked up when the clean guitar tones comes into view. For a song of so many intricate parts, Factorie still feels like it’s meant to be. It doesn’t sound laboured and remains varied. That being said, it’s not for people with short attention spans or under-developed imaginations!

Second track Witch Trial is half the length of Factorie and due to that, it features more urgency and initially a more accessible feel. The instrumental intro leans more toward the Western influences that Idre exhibited in their opener. Their are still gothic overtones within the vocals, but that similarity is only due to the deep-tone of Ryan Davis’s voice. Idre don’t completely escape the drone on Witch Trial either, instead using it to make the song sound more claustrophobic as it draws to a close. Idre’s performance on their debut is one that’s clearly been thought about and planned in great detail. They haven’t rushed into it and they’ve taken their time in creating something that will appeal to a large cross-section of heavy music fans, but also with the lack of extreme vocals, they’ll more than likely appeal to non-metal fans too. They would fit right in on the roster of Southern Lord or Profound Lore Records and that says a lot for the quality on offer here.

Idre's debut is available for streaming and as a name-your-price download via their bandcamp page below:-

Idre Tumblr -
Idre Facebook -

1 comment:

  1. Incredible to see Beggar picking up some recognition. It's so much more than deserved.