Review: “Ram” by Charlene Beretah

Hailing from Neuchâtel in Switzerland Charlene Beretah started out as a duo in 2014 before evolving into a three piece for three years later. Writing music that crosses over Sludge, Doom, Black Metal and even Crust Punk, the trio release their debut full length with five songs of Progressive Metal length. Guitarist vocalist Arnaud is joined by drummer Thierry and bassist Guillaume for what promises to be a feedback soaked piece of fuzz.

Starting with a piece of Hammond Organ and a spoken word about the dead before building into a snow storm of slow burning Sludge Doom riffs, “Call Of Darkness”, nothing can prepare you for the Black Metal werewolf depravity of the opening vocals. While the music has a melodic off kilter Jazz Blues vibe with some heavier bass lines in places, giving a slow dark creep the vocals give the beast teeth. Charlene Beretah are a Rattle Snake preparing to strike, the sinister overtones building to a thunderous breakdown section of cycling riffs in concentric circles. “My Dream” follows the 11 minute opening Westward stab with a 6 minute Black Metal oriented cut that continues the flow with a Norwegian Forrest gazing start that builds up into some driven riffs. The fuzzy tones are at the perfect point of the tipping balance, just enough feedback to keep it sounding raw but not enough to drown anything out. Some lead licks for the final verse are a nice point of difference.

“Hurt” is the second 11 minute cut and you might begin to understand why we said “full length” and not “EP”. Sure, there are only five tracks but each one has a couple of tracks with of material nested inside them, like one of those Russian dolls. A darker, heavier weight of atmosphere track with some well timed momentary pauses before the opening blood curdling scream. It fades off twice to a melodic mid section and spoken word before building back up into the deafening fuzz with a rise and fall flow before closing on a acapella scream. If you’re expecting a version of the Christian hymn by English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton from “Amazing Grace” then look away now. Instead you get a fuzz-bubble-ripper of Doom Sludge Metal riffs followed by an incoherent verse delivered like Motorhead on a bad acid trip. “Kurdes Game” is the third chapter to fall in the 11 minute category and if you enjoyed the previous two then you’ll find more of the same here. Repeating cyclical riff patterns creating a giant droning monster and vocals that are the result of drinking from a witches cauldron. There is a mid song break from the Charlene Beretah core sound for a melodic folklore esq Black Metal passage akin to Dratna that gradually picks up into a hypnotic cathartic white noise [7/10]

Track listing

  1. Call Of Darkness
  2. My Dream
  3. Hurt
  4. Amazing Grace
  5. Kurdes Game

“Ram” by Charlene Beretah is out now via Division Records


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