Baldam’s second album Pasung is a monstrous sludge metal beast that gets even better the louder you play it. It’s crushing, devastating stuff. It also has a core of well-written music at its dark heart, obscured by waves of thick grimy distortion and evil vocals. If you’re a fan of heavy, filthy music then this is one that you need to check out as a priority.
Founder Grahm Reynolds lets us into the world of Beldam, what makes the band tick and how energised he is at the moment…
Introduce us to Beldam – how did the band form?
Beldam formed in early 2013 in Charlottesville, Va. I had been looking for other metal musicians in the area for quite a while (and this might be hard to believe) but Charlottesville is not a hot bed for metal heads! I found an ad on Craigslist for a bassist who was looking for a guitarist to play heavy music and all of our influences were an exact match. We got together and started hashing out tunes that would end up on Still the Wretched Linger. This may also be hard to process but Charlottesville is also not a hotbed of drummers either. After auditioning/trying out no less than 10 drummers, we found Cullen Wade and he was the crux of the band’s sound. The original lead singer was with us long enough to record on Still the Wretch Linger and he was cut loose just prior to the record’s release. The powerhouse that is Randall Guidry replaced him. His vocals and lyrics took Beldam to the next level. This current line up performed together up until Beldam relocated to Seattle in October 2017.
What are your influences?
Our biggest influence is definitely Black Sabbath; however, there are so many more that have had an effect on the band. We definitely have been getting heavily into Meth Drinker and Brainoil! of late. We also listen to a ton of Graves at Sea, Eyehategod, Sleep, Noothgrush, Weedeater, Grief, Bongzilla, Melvins. We can also get way out there and listen to some John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and The Beatles.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend.
Anything by Meth Drinker
Anything by Brainoil!
A Love Supreme by John Coltrane
I’m really excited about new releases from Yob and Zeke. In the meantime, go listen to all of their records because these bands absolutely destroy!
Tell us about Pasung
Pasung is a behemoth of an album. I literally started writing for it the moment Still the Wretched Linger was released. There had been a bit of band drama on the ramp up to that record and writing new material was the best way to refocus.
What’s the process you use for writing songs?
The writing process for Pasung was excruciating and exhilarating at the same time. We had the luxury of putting some heavy pre-production into the tunes on Pasung. We essentially decided to lay off gigging while we were writing and jamming out the tunes for the record. I would cut a demo to GarageBand and email it out to all the guys. Randall was a beast during the creation of the album. I would email out a rough demo and he would show up to practice the next day with all of his lyrics and vocals ready to roll, and the rest of the band hadn’t even jammed the song out together yet!
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
My favourite song on Pasung is Carrion Feast. It’s one of my favourites because it’s loose and heavy. It was the last song written for the record, and after all the pre-production with the other tunes, to have one come across so seamlessly was inspiring. I honestly have our engineer Drew Carroll to thank for the final product. He worked tirelessly on the production and his input on this song helped push it across the finish line.
How did you decide on the order of the tracks?
We want the record to have a really good flow to it. We normally open our shows with Vial of Silence, the first song on the album, because it has some really good energy to it and can get the crowd going right off the bat so—we knew that would be the first song. That Which Consumes You closes out the album because it features an amazing drum solo by Cullen Wade, Randall screaming his absolutely brains out, and a solid two minutes of Sunn O)))-style feedback at the end of the song. We felt the song order was a perfect way to connect the dots between Vial and Consumes.
How did the recording process go?
The recording process was awesome. We knew the material backwards and forwards because of all the pre-production the band put in. The album was recorded at The Bomb Shelter in Nashville, Tenn. We had our good friend, Drew Carroll, engineer and master the record because for one he is awesome at his job and he had previously worked with us on our 5 Song Demo back in late 2014 and knew what type of sound we were looking for. All of the songs on the record were tracked and then guitars doubled in two days! As soon as we started getting mixes back, I realised I needed to get back to Nashville and add more guitar tracking and rerecord the bass tracks because the original bass takes just didn’t cut the mustard. Drew and I spent another two days beefing up the tracks with guitars and made Pasung an absolute wall of guitars and low end.
How would you compare Pasung to your previous work?
I feel like 3 is part of the natural progression of the maturation of Beldam and our sound. We tweaked some of the things we weren’t completely pleased with from the Wretched album and tried to go for that really raw vintage metal sound. We are really pleased with the result and feel that our fans will be also.
What lessons will you take forward to your next release from creating Pasung?
First and foremost, I will schedule way more studio time to lay down the foundational tracks. Doom/sludge songs are notoriously long, and we found ourselves clocking in two 12+ hour days in a row leaving us all a little punchy and fried. This didn’t give us the time we needed after the songs were on tape to give them the fresh ears we needed while the whole band was still in the studio.
What’s the local metal scene like where you are?
The local metal scene in Seattle is off the chain! It’s such a refreshing change. There are tons of venues, tons of rabid metal fans and tons of players in the area. It has me completely energised to take Beldam to the next level here in the Pacific Northwest.
How do you feel you fit into the wider global metal world?
I feel Beldam fits perfectly in the doom/sludge metal world and want to promote the new record as obsessively as possible because I feel the songs on this record will resonate with all metal fans. Pasung has a bit of everything that will appeal to fans of all genres of metal. Hopefully, Pasung will raise awareness for Beldam and will help us pick up steam to get on some high visual profile tour packages to take us to the next level.
What’s it like working with Horror Pain Gore Death productions?
Working with HPGD Productions is a dream come true! Mike Juliano, the head honcho, makes putting a record out seamless. He absolutely loves metal and works tirelessly to support and promote bands on his roster. Mike gave us the chance we needed back in 2015 when we were down, and it has been a marriage made in metal heaven ever since. I highly recommend you swing my HPGD’s bandcamp page and website for the best in cutting edge metal!
What are the next steps for Beldam?
The absolute immediate next step for Beldam is to get the new lineup together and get everyone up to speed on the material. Then we can get out and gig the new material in the Seattle area. I also plan to continue to promote the new record in collaboration with Clawhammer PR and HPGD Productions. I want as many people as possible to hear Pasung because I feel it is our best material to date!!
Any final words?
Beldam truly appreciates everyone’s patience as the band gets settled here in Seattle. As soon as we are up and running and gig-ready, we will make announcements across our social media platforms. Pasung represents Beldam at its most raw and finest in my opinion and we hope it resonates with all of you. Please visit our bandcamp page to purchase or download our material:
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