A glass of scotch, rain falling on the windowpanes, and a roaring fire are all you really need to enjoy Beileid, the latest release from the masters of “horror jazz”, German-based Bohren & Der Club of Gore. If you’ve never heard of the dark, instrumental outfit before, this might be the album to change that. Beileid is a cinematic mood-changer composed of pained saxophone solos, and ghostly string sections, an album that will sweep your mind away into dreamland.
Beileid follows the same dark and moody path as the group’s other albums, such as the David Lynchian Sunset Mission and Black Earth. This one, though, has a couple of other things going for it that makes it stand out from their repertoire. For one, the album could almost be considered an EP considering there’s only three tracks on it (though it does clock in at a respectable 36 minutes). For another, the track “Catch My Heart” features vocals, provided by none other than Mike Patton, a rare occurrence for the typically instrumental quartet.
The first track, the aptly named “Zombies Never Die”, rolls in with ominous plucks of throbbing bass strings and childlike xylophone hits, before becoming enveloped by New Agey keyboard sounds and the group’s trademark saxophone. You’ve never heard a saxophone sound so desolate and sad until you’ve heard it on a Bohren album. “Catch My Heart” (a Warlock cover) benefits from Patton’s baritone vocals, taking the haunting track to another level. Here, your emotions are manipulated by the sincerity of the heartbreaking lyrics. The song is long, with a slow build. When Patton sings “I want to dream on forever,” you realize you’re in a dream-like state yourself. That feeling continues onto the title track, another wavering soundtrack of madness and sadness.
By the time the album wraps up in its unassuming way, the listener is left feeling changed. You can’t quite put your finger on it, as it’s sort of like a dream itself, leaving you with feelings you can’t account for. Beileid is a rightfully haunting, strangely transporting, and seductively simple journey through the night.