Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
Buy On
  1. Magnet
    Nov 5, 2014
    90
    Bestial Burden works because of its methodical execution--a calculated piece of catharsis that towers over all other bedroom power electronics tape-peddlers. [No. 114, p.59]
  2. Oct 16, 2014
    90
    Bestial Burden, in its immediacy, in its primal, abrasive engagement with the senses, reaches across the division of bodies to speak directly to you.
  3. 90
    Death is inevitable and we don’t know what’s on the other side, so while we’re here just put everything into it. Bestial Burden is the sound of Pharmakon doing exactly that.
  4. Oct 10, 2014
    90
    At just under 30 minutes long, the record is as brief as it is uncompromising.
  5. Oct 15, 2014
    84
    As a whole, Bestial Burden highlights Chardiet’s ability to re-draw the boundaries of her own artistic approach, ripping out its guts and creating something new out of the decaying remains.
  6. Nov 25, 2014
    80
    By injecting a self-serious genre with a sense of theatre, Bestial Burden makes Chardiet's music more engaging without dulling its edge.
  7. Nov 3, 2014
    80
    In the early 1980s Swans and Einstürzende Neubauten broke new ground in their obsession with the body as a site of painful affliction, and traces of both can certainly be found in the grinding, reverberant noise that stalks Bestial Burden. Yet the album easily transcends its influences, forming a bleak, distressing narrative of a self on the brink of collapse.
  8. Oct 21, 2014
    80
    Chardiet's brush with mortality seems to have added extra weight to her disturbing compositions.
  9. Oct 13, 2014
    80
    The album is at its most gut-wrenching when it puts the humanity behind its creation on display.
  10. 80
    This is that rare music that genuinely deserves the descriptor ‘visceral’: sonic body horror that comes on like avant-garde composer Diamanda Galas scoring David Cronenberg.
  11. Oct 10, 2014
    80
    Chardiet’s electronic manipulations are subtler and more thought out than those of many of her peers. This, ultimately, means that Bestial Burden, like Abandon before it, deserves to be considered as near the top of its class.
  12. Oct 10, 2014
    80
    Bestial Burden is immensely captivating and exquisitely structured, another unique offering from an unparalleled artist.
  13. 75
    Songs often exist to structure a moment of reflection, to set reality into a structure to breathe for a moment; noise, on the other hand, often embodies the lack of breath. That’s rarely as true as it is with the latest from Margaret Chardiet’s Pharmakon, Bestial Burden.
  14. The Wire
    Dec 15, 2014
    70
    The music--hums, clangs and muffled booms--wields an ominous, oppressive power, especially on headphones, that can create a feeling of queasy horror even for those unaware of the record's backstory. [Nov 2014, p.68]
  15. Nov 19, 2014
    70
    Bestial Burden, remarkably, achieves exactly what it sets out to do: to turn the gory inner mechanics of the body outward, and lay bare its unpredictable capacity for self-destruction.
  16. Oct 21, 2014
    70
    With her heavily processed voice floating through the feedback, it's the remarkably detailed cry of a soul on fire.
  17. Oct 16, 2014
    50
    Bestial Burden is not much fun to listen to, even for those of us who take great pleasure in noisy, abstract, unhappy music. So if you really need to hit bottom and feel about as misanthropic and nauseous as possible in order to bounce back, Bestial Burden might be just the thing.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 23
  2. Negative: 4 out of 23
  1. Oct 15, 2014
    10
    I wasn't sure how she could possibly top Abandon, but she did. I won't say a whole lot about this album, as I think it's best to just diveI wasn't sure how she could possibly top Abandon, but she did. I won't say a whole lot about this album, as I think it's best to just dive right into it, however I can't leave without mentioning the final track, Bestial Burden, which in my opinion might be one of the best songs of the year so far. If you're in the mood for something intense, emotional, and brutal, look no further than Pharmakon. Full Review »
  2. Oct 15, 2014
    9
    One of the most impressive albums I've heard this year. This album is very aggressive and provocative, for me, a new territory of music.One of the most impressive albums I've heard this year. This album is very aggressive and provocative, for me, a new territory of music. Excellent album. Full Review »
  3. Oct 14, 2014
    9
    After witnessing her Abandon EP from last year, Bestial Burden's most surprising moment for me comes from Margaret Chardiet's act of restraintAfter witnessing her Abandon EP from last year, Bestial Burden's most surprising moment for me comes from Margaret Chardiet's act of restraint on her bonus track cover of Nancy Sinatra's more well-known 1966 cover of Cher's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" and how well-executed in typical Pharmakon fashion it turned out to be, dethroning Lady Gaga and David Guetta from the coveted 'Memorable Bang Bang Cover of the Year' award.

    But now that we know Chardiet does have the—in her case—unique ability to have fun, let's back to the dark reality of what Bestial Burden really is: a compositionally cleaner structure of the chilling, horror-esque screams of Chardiet and her accompanying percussions and assortment of noises. As evident by the artwork—which according to Chardiet, is to "the body as a lump of flesh and cells that mutate and fail you and betray you—this very banal, unimportant, grotesque aspect of ourselves" with actual organs (none human though!)—the concept came together after Chardiet had to undergo emergency surgery and cancel her very first European tour in order to rest her body over a period of three weeks.

    Where does that lead us? Well, into more incomprehensible reverbed screams that could've came from the recordings of an actual murder, of course. But with Abandon, it's already been well-embraced by noise music listeners and it only takes us further and further into Chardiet as an artist. Though she insists it's much grittier than her previous material, Bestial Burden actually unveils a more coherent and organized noise artist, from the song titles ("Body Betrays Itself" and "Autoimmune") to the even more meaningful interludes (heavy breathing of "Vacuum" and coughs of "Primitive Struggle"). Wherever Pharmakon eventually takes us, whether that's a full-length LP or a pattern of conceptual yet minimal EPs, Chardiet might not even know. But it's kind of scary—and kind of innovative and endearing.
    Full Review »