28 May 2024

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Beckoned - Single/Video Review: Luminous

01 Feb 2023 // A review by Kev Rowland

The word “supergroup” is not one to be bandied around lightly, yet that was very much the first thing which came to mind when I came across the new formation of Beckoned. During one of the many lockdowns, guitarist Nail Vincent (Devilskin) started working on new material, and he played some to his old bandmate, bassist Munro Goodwin (Sinate) and pretty soon they were working on the material together with drummer Corey Friedlander (City of Souls,8 Foot Sativa), but who would be the singer? Step forward Sam Bartells who normally works in a very different musical direction. While the rest of the band are from a hard rock/metal background, Sam is much more from alt country, and I am used to seeing him accompany himself with an acoustic guitar as opposed to being the frontman for a band like this.   

Musically this starts with a bass which has gentle guitar chords over the top with a basic drum pattern, and Sam coming in for the first verse, staying very much inside himself, and there is the feeling of a band restraining themselves. Gradually it builds, with more drama and passion in play by the end of the second chorus, and when we go into the chorus again (no intervening verse) it has again taken a step up which then leads into the commercial bridge (some delicate linking keyboards in the background). Nail allows himself a dynamic solo which screams a more metallic approach before we go back into another chorus, and when Sam screams one can feel the passion coming through. He is singing in a higher register than one normally expects from him, with a commercial sound which links with the rest of the band to produce something which is both heavy and radio friendly. I am sure this is a quite different beast when performed live (and I know Beckoned had their first gig a few weeks ago), and is much heavier as apart from Sam all the guys have experience in very heavy bands indeed. This bringing together of different backgrounds have created something which is powerful, dramatic, and a taster of more to come.

The video is mostly a performance, plus a dancer, with everyone wearing luminous theatrical makeup with different lighting showing different aspects (Sam is also wearing some disconcerting contacts). Just looking at the way Corey is attacking his kit lets one know that what we are hearing is a sanitized version of what this band are going to be like when they cut loose. The bass is solid, linked in tight, while Nail is ready to really turn it up when he gets the opportunity and Sam seems to have been a closet rocker all the time. This song is going to make a lot of people sit up and take notice as the old hands have a new direction which is powerful and solid.  

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Beckoned

Beckoned is comprised of talented musicians from beloved Kiwi heavy-rock and metal bands 8 Foot Sativa, City of Souls, Devilskin, Chuganaut, Fornax Chemica and Bitumus, but in this incarnation they have resoundingly established a separate identity by featuring the wide-ranging vocal prowess of ascending singer-songwriter Sam Bartells.

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