Music has a unique power to set the mood and provide an experience like no other for its listeners.
German rock noir band WellBad’s 2020 single “The Heartbeast” is a haunting masterpiece of these devices. The simple yet rhythmic and eerie instrumental leaves room for lead singer Daniel Welbat’s deep vocals to stand out. His voice is rich and gritty enough to crush rocks, and hypnotically entrances with the attention it commands.
This darkly intriguing song exists in its own world, a self-contained black hole that sucks in everything around it into the murky uncertainty, with a pull so gentle and subtle you don’t know you’ve been trapped until it’s too late to escape. Not that you would want to, given how sickeningly addicting the softly plucking guitar and lowly humming strings become. By the last quarter of the song, when it starts to build into a triumphant, dramatic refrain, you will feel the inquisitive hunger and gloomy suspension reverberating throughout your own body.
Welbat, whose name appears to have influenced the band’s own chosen moniker, is joined by four other members to complete WellBad. Arne Vogeler takes lead guitar, with Jonas Von Orde on drums, Stefan Reich on bass, and Joachim Refardt on keys and trumpet. All of their music appears to be in English, titles and lyrics alike, but their social media is split in which language they use to promote themselves.
While the band is based in Hamburg, they have spent some time touring the world, from festivals in Italy and Canada to right in our home state of Tennessee at Memphis’ Beale Street. They have also seen success in Germany, having performed during prime time slots on nationwide television and live in Hamburg’s own Elbphilharmonie auditorium.
After four studio LPs, with releases spanning 2011 through 2019, WellBad decided to record a live album in 2020 called Rock Noir (Live), containing a variety of songs from across their discography. It is unclear whether “The Heartbeast” will appear on a later release, but given that they also dropped another single last year called “Dilemma Song,” they could be preparing for another collection soon.
Until then, the primal, hymn-like song will continue to haunt your memory, for the unforgettable sonic adventure is as much of an earworm as it is unsettling and alluring.