Bethmoora hail from the land of Peter Schmeichel and Carlsberg. No, not Manchester…Denmark. Thresholds is Bethmoora’s debut full length release, and follows their demo and a split with Dorre, both released back in 2016. It comes courtesy of Sludgelord Records here in the UK, and Black Voodoo Records and minoRobscuR elsewhere on our insignificant globe.
The title of the first track says it all really – indeed this review could have just consisted of this title; it gives a far more accurate picture of what it sounds like than I could ever describe… And For Eternity They Will Devour His Flesh.
If this sounds like a quote from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser to you, then you’re already on the right lines. Thresholds is the aural equivalent of being lashed by a cenobite for forty four minutes! It’s a slow and drawn out exercise in musical pain. Anyone with a fear of guttural gargled vocals, and a wall of overdriven filth, should swiftly head in the opposite direction. This isn’t for the faint-hearted…
The opening track could only ever be described as relentlessly bleak, and the fourteen minute long Keeper treads the same hellishly sludgy path. With the third track Painted Man, Bethmoora open their wings and with this comes varied tempos, some standout drumming, and what for me is the most effective track on the album.
Thresholds is the aural equivalent of being lashed by a cenobite for forty four minutes…
The fourth and final track, Lamentation introduces some more subtle guitar work, and whilst it remains massively heavy, there is also a sense of catharsis which is certainly completely absent during the album’s first two slabs of hatred. Lamentation brought to mind early Yob records, and such a comparison is only ever a good thing.
I’ve listened to Thresholds on a number of occasions over the last few weeks and my response to it has been equally strong every time, although the nature of the response was polarised. When I find myself in even a slightly negative mood, this is a record that takes hold and drags you through the darkness. However, on those odd occasions when I’ve felt even marginally upbeat, I’ve found myself disengaged from it, and a few times I’ve even turned it off and replaced it with something slightly less disturbing…like a snuff film.
You can judge this in one of two ways. Firstly, you could say that Thresholds is so good at what it does (unrelenting punches to the throat) that my backing away from it at certain times is a sign of success. The second way to judge this though, is that it doesn’t quite have that extra something special that actually brings the listener along with it. The very best music can not only enhance your mood; it can change it, and in this regard I feel this debut album falls slightly short of some of the very best in the genre.
A genre-defining album that will change the way you think about extreme metal?…no. The most oppressive and gruelling (in a cathartic way) album you’ll have heard this year?…probably.
Scribed by: David J McLaren