Written by: Blackie Skulless
Wow, talk about a much needed attack of chaotic thrash played in the traditional format! Beekeeper hail from San Diego, and have been around since 2010. Though their first record Slaves To The Nothing was technically released back in 2017, they’re re-pressing it to many vinyl variants as well as CD in May of this year, which is how it was brought to my attention. From the gate, I can tell this is very much going to be loved or hated depending on the set of ears, because of its grating delivery.
The selling factor is the frontwoman’s piercing vocal style blended with unconventional riffing patterns that still never leave the thrash boundaries. This sets itself apart from the typical outing of its type. I for one love it; her vocals vary significantly. Shrieks that fire far above the mix (think Carmine Blades from Seax) bounce around lower hurls of force, which is such a unique approach. Moreover, the bass guitars coat the riffing to boost the levels of intensity everywhere. Thus, the finished product is overly energetic from front to back.
Underneath that thick shell lies a hot core of impressive songwriting that’s more jarring than memorable, but fun nonetheless. “Subservient Submission” into “Vegeta” certainly displays Beekeeper’s ability to mesh ideas smoothly while keeping that intensity. The latter also uses repetition and harder drum-blasts to carry a lot of weight. Hell, the rhythms within themselves and how nicely they progress is extremely impressive, and this is probably the other big advantage.
More direct blows are still prominent in Slaves To The Nothing. In some spots, we see the faster moments of the longer tunes extracted and condensed into a (slightly) more digestible mass. “Satan” is my favorite track because of how well it hones those ideas in, and the drumming here is out of this world. The vocals riding alongside it flawlessly are an incredible feature. “Kamel Krusher” adds a dash of punk energy, being a less-than-serious centerfold that divides the disc. It doesn’t even touch the two-minute mark. Those mosh-friendly moments are seldom, but they hit hard.
The only real complaint I have is that the songwriting itself could stand to be the littlest bit tighter. As I said, the writing isn’t the most memorable because of how chaotic it is, and I’d be lying if I said I could find a linear flow. Besides a few instances of one song to another, the big picture’s structure makes things harder to digest. Opener “Vargas” lets you know what you’re in for right away, which sounds incredible; just know that it’s a lot to grasp. There are no breathers or slow-burns besides some subtle stomps in “Trials Of The Shredder.” Ultimately though, I see Slaves To The Nothing being a grower.
Beekeeper - Slaves To The Nothing was originally released July 1st, 2017, and will be released on red-with-black-splatter vinyl on May 7th, 2021 from Metal Assault Records. Pre-order available here!
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!