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And so it happened that one of the three big-names in hyper-technical death metal, Beneath the Massacre, had very humble beginnings on their EP. Very humble, indeed.
Oh, who the fuck am I kidding. I can't help but like this EP, as it is obviously evidence of a deathcore band that put some actual effort into their music. As it seems to happen a lot in this genre, there are a couple boring riffs here and there, but in Evidence of Inequity, their numbers have been cut substantially compared to most of their fellow genre-mates. Add that to the surprising amount of brutality for a deathcore band and the fast yet structured technicality, and you have a release in which almost everyone will find something to enjoy.
The five-song EP blows most of its maximum momentum and best riffs in the first song, "Comforting Prejudice", and goddamn, it's one of the heaviest, most spastic deathcore songs I've ever heard. Unlike most technical death metal bands, this band sweep the lower strings on their guitars just as often as they do the highs, which offers a bit of variety rarely seen in modern technical death metal bands. They also have a habit of playing ridiculously fast tremolos instead of sweeping noodle riffs, which provides a relatively interesting sound and, again, gives this band an identity. Though the first song gives the listener the heaviest real death metal they'll hear on this release, and is my favorite song overall, the rest of the songs use one of my favorite of all deathcore techniques - start-stop breakdowns - and damn, this band does them perfectly. They're played on just the right strings, and neither used too often nor just once. Though the last two songs on this release step down just a bit in quality compared to the first three, they're still not bad and come with musical elements not seen on the rest of this release ("Regurgitated Lullaby for Whatever the Fuck This Song Title Is Supposed to Mean" is almost entirely fast, start-stopped breakdowns; "Nevermore" is a bit generic in its blasts but contains a couple of long, slow breakdowns - could be useful if I ever got in the mood to listen to such).
The drumming is typical blasts and sounds decent, though I could say that the bass drum could be a bit deeper than it is - it's far too clicky and gets a bit annoying after a while. I guess the biggest problem I have with this release would be the growls - they're mid-level growls and they stay at the same monotone sound throughout the whole release. Even after only 17 minutes when this release is finished, I can't help but feel a little annoyed by them.
Still, this is the best technical deathcore I've heard in a long time, and if you're into such things you should definitely check this EP out.
I heard of Beneath the Massacre through some of my friends that happened to see them at a live show and couldn’t stop talking about how good they were. I looked them up and figured I would review it since the material on their debut release, the “Evidence of Inequity” EP, is pretty unique. Considering this is an EP with only five songs on it, I’ll get right into it with a track-by-track analysis.
Comforting Prejudice: So this is the part of the movie where all is quite, and then, suddenly, a wall of noise blindsides everyone, bringing with it, shrapnel and other destructive goodies. When I pressed play, I didn’t expect to get kicked in my teeth multiple times within the first seconds. My first initial reaction was “what the hell is this?” The opening riff was played so fast that I didn’t even have time to think before the wide intervallic tapping came in, leaving just as quickly as it had entered. It’s certainly safe to say that amidst all of the destruction I had to pick my jaw up off of the floor. Then enter Elliot’s vocals, extremely pissed off and low, basically to the point. I’m pretty sure that he remained monotone for the sole purpose of carrying the intensity of the music. Though he isn’t very flashy, he certainly was able to make his point. The drums are mechanical and relentless. The songs drums mainly consist of blast beats, double pedal that follows the rhythm of the guitars and bass, and some pretty fast fills.
Speaking of the bass, what exactly is it doing amongst this mess of sound? Upon further investigation, I discovered that I could make the bass a bit more audible by playing it through headphones against the pickups of my bass when the bass amp was on. To my surprise, the bass player follows along with the guitarists note for note. This probably amazes me the most since he’s doing exactly what the guitarist are doing, but with his fingers. Again, I had to pick my jaw up from the floor. The only downside to this big musical fist is that the last thirty seconds or so are unfortunately a breakdown. For all of their talent and ability and creativity to pack so much intensity into such a short song, then end it with a breakdown . . . . . . . Sigh. It didn’t really kill the song for me, but it definitely took away some of the “awe” factor that was endlessly being produced at the beginning of the song.
Profitable Kill Count: With the beginning of the second song, BTM introduces us to something that wasn’t around at all in Comforting Prejudice – melody. The intro is, by BTM standards, very melodic. It was a nice curve ball to throw in there since I figured they were completely emotionless from the get go. However, as the melodic riffs cease, it comes like the smell of rain before a storm; the build up to a breakdown. A whopping 47-second breakdown. Over 1/5 of the song comes from just that breakdown. Again, for all of that talent, I’m kind of disappointed that they couldn’t come up with anything better to do for 47 seconds. However, if you can remain patient enough to sit through the breakdown, you’ll be rewarded with the only solo on the EP, which consists of a barrage of tapping, sweeping, string skipping, and more melody. The vocals and drums are still relentless and unforgiving, and the trio of stringed instruments stays in sync with each other or the entire ride.
Totalitarian Hypnosis: The beginning of this song almost sounds like something out of a horrible space trip. The wide intervals used are both mesmerizing and inspiring, especially with the bass following along with them. So you would think that the wide intervals would stop after the intro, but think again, they weave them between Elliot’s growls and use them as a main riff. Apparently they like using wide intervals. By this time in the EP, one will realize that the vocal and drum formulas don’t really change at all. They’re both mechanic, and don’t really change too much. They’re there more or less to carry the mood of the music. Now, at 1:14 we see another melodic riff, which is definitely a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, it raises your hopes up only to crush them with another breakdown. Another 30-second breakdown. By this time in the EP one can also realize that they could probably expect breakdowns in the remaining songs too. The song ends with the same riff used to open the song, but extended to the point where one can’t imagine how they haven’t run out of frets by the time they’re done playing it.
Regurgitated Lullaby for the Born Dead: Drums open up this song with some blast beats, and then some wide intervallic sweeps come into the mix to add some shock factor. When the vocals come in, the drums follow the scream rhythm, which is a nice twist on what they’ve done so far, but like a bad fart that won’t go away, here comes another breakdown. Thankfully, it’s the shortest of all the breakdowns on the EP, and quickly transitions into some more intense riffage. The precision and speed at which the riffs are played are definitely amazing, but the credit these guitar players deserve is always minimized by their ever-frequent use of breakdowns. It almost seems like they use them whenever they’re out of steam for ideas, which would be a shame since the ideas they have come up with are pretty damn good. There’s another breakdown at 3:33 that closes the song.
Nevermore: This is by far my least favorite song off of this EP. The song starts with intense riffs, intense drums, and pissed off vocals, just like most of the other songs. It’s a formula that really works well for these guys. However, just as things get going, a 42-second breakdown kills the mood. Once that’s over, they come back with just as much force used to start the song. They pull out all the stops, increasing the drum speed, increasing the melody, showing all of their cards as if they’re trying to redeem themselves for that 42 seconds that they lost earlier, but then they completely turn around and close the song with a 1:02 long breakdown that fades out ending the EP. THAT’S NOT THE NOTE YOU WANT TO END ON WHEN YOU HAVE THAT MUCH TALENT AT YOUR DISPOSAL!!! A breakdown that fades out and goes on for over a minute. It doesn’t even sound like I’m talking about the same band. Unfortunately, I am, and unfortunately they ended their listening experience very poorly.
Yeah, I’ve mentioned that they use the breakdown a lot, but lets see just how much they use it.
Track 1: Length of breakdowns - 27 seconds
Track 2: Length of breakdowns - 47 seconds
Track 3: Length of breakdowns - 30 seconds
Track 4: Length of breakdowns - 1:09 seconds
Track 5: Length of breakdowns - 1:42 seconds
Total EP Length: 17:03
Total Breakdown Time: 4:35 = 26% of the total length.
When you have this much talent, and over a quarter of their release is nothing but breakdowns, then there’s a serious problem with either the song writing or the capability of the musicians to think of decent parts to play. I’m betting on the former. Overall, the musicianship is top notch. If you want technical death metal, this is definitely worth listening to if you can deal with the constant use of breakdowns. The production isn’t overdone, and everything can stand out, even the bass. The lyrics are pretty political, which isn’t really what I was expecting from a band this intense, but the vocals render them inaudible anyway, so just listen to it when you want something angry and powerful. The music itself is good for a debut. The playing is great, but the music as a whole is just good. Perhaps in the future they’ll realize that if they can polish up their songwriting then they’ll musically be in a league of their own .
Evidence of Inequity probably describes Beneath the Massacre best. This EP is solid from the start of "Comforting Prejudice" until the end of "Nevermore." If you like good, flat out death metal, you will like this EP.
Among many things, this release is definitely heavy. The drums are relentless and fast-paced, the guitars are crushing, and the vocals really complete the suit. All of the songs have lead-a-plenty from the guitars. You also get crushingly heavy riffs as well. The intensity of this album is pure ferocity, as this collection of songs just continues to pummel the listener again and again.
Being that there is only 5 songs here, I will only mention the 2 that really stood out to me. The first one I will mention, "Regurgitated Lullaby for the Born Dead," comes through late at number 4. With this song, you get straight-up, in-your-face death metal. This song is just an endless onslaught that consumes you for about 4 minutes. Intensity and power are two themes present as you listen to this beast of a song. Fans of pure heavy death metal will love this song.
The other song that really grabbed my attention on this Ep is the 5th song, "Nevermore." This song is full of speed and heaviness. The chorus is a lot like a hardcore bearkdown, which gets a lot of criticism, but it fits the song. The verses of this song really build up to the chorus, and it doesn't disappoint. Some people, however, are afraid to admit this song is excellent because they're afraid that someone will accuse them of being a hardcore kid. I won't go into that subject any further, just putting that out there.
Beneath the Massacre made one hell of an EP with Evidence of Inequity. It will keep you listening again and again. The only downside of this release is that it is so short.
Put yourself in a dark and quiet room. Now hit the play button on your stereo with that EP by the Canadians, Beneath the Massacre. Prepare to take a 17 minute ride into utter chaos. There is not much I can say to prepare you for the onslaught of madness that is about overtake your safe little room.
When I bought this EP I thought I knew what to expect. By the time it was over, the only thing I could find immediately wrong with the EP was that five tracks wasn't enough. The technicality was overwhelming, and I still haven't found a rival for the precision these guys play with. I wish that I could mimic for you the sound that the effects have given to the guitars for this release. If you have a seizure condition, I do not recommend that you buy this album.
When Comforting Prejudice begins, the peaceful room you were in will be shattered. To an untrained ear it almost sounds like some guys bought instruments and figured out how to make noise with them. On closer inspection however you will find that the fretboards have been mastered. The blastbeats from the drum are timed perfectly throughout the short intro. Once the vocals kick in you might find yourself grabbing your seat. The timing is unpredictable through the whole song without losing the inertia.
Profitable Killcount starts with a cymbal fade in, and then instantly turns into a circle-pit frenzied drive up and back down the necks of the guitars. The snare drum blast beats refuse to keep time and command you to focus on the overall chaotic sound. As I mentioned previously, this insane sound has little meter to it. If you listen though you will decipher the beat you need, perhaps after a few listens. A slot machine in a Vegas casino, surrounded by a thousand others is maybe a fair description of what the sound is akin to.
The next three tracks run a similar path to the brief descriptions I have provided. The vocals sound a little like the death vocals of Despised Icon. Lyrical content is intelligent throughout this EP. The content is politically based, and touches on other issues that affect humanity. Admittedly, I didn't understand the vocals for the first few listens and resorted to looking at the liner notes. I was pleased to find the words that I did, as we know, intelligent bands are becoming few and far between.
The actual sound of the guitars and bass remain indescribable by myself. For most of the album the tempo reminds me of something that Agoraphobic Nosebleed could conjure up. The ending of the track ‘Nevermore’ will give you a nice heavy outro from the whole experience. Some people may picture a pinball machine in action by the actual sound and intensity of the guitars. Rest assured, you won’t find tired power chords dominating this album.
I was introduced to Beneath the Massacre around 12 months ago. I was constantly hearing their name around on forums, fanzines, etc. I never bothered to check them out because Death Metal these days seems to have gotten stupidly popular, and most of the bands coming out are just doing the same old shit their masters had already done more than 10 years ago. It's very rare that a powerful and talented band will casually stroll along. Beneath the Massacre are one of those bands. One night when a friend of mine sent me a track through MSN as a sampler, I was totally blown out of the water. It was exactly what these veteran ears had been looking for. I immediately launched my Opera browser, searched for a few minutes, and ordered the EP. It's fucking outstanding.
For those of you who know me, you'll know that I love my Death Metal brutal, fast, and technical. Beneath the Massacre deliver the goods in every single aspect, and the production on this EP is amazing; it sounds extremely professional, and the song writing itself is very mature, which is surprising because the oldest member is just 24 years old! These guys have definitely done their homework, and then some. To keep the intro short, lets just say that these boys know how to play their instruments way better than most in the Death Metal arena, and that is saying something, as there are some extraordinary players out there.
Track one, "Comforting Prejudice" roars out of your speakers and you're instantly hit back by the force of the band. The words "holy fuck" seems to cross your lips as ferocious atonal riffing and gravity blasts are rushing through your skull. The first thing you will notice here is the insane drumming of Justin Rousselle. For someone who's only 22 fucking years old, it seems like the kid has been blasting since he was 3 years old. Extremely tight and advanced drumming, perfect for the style of the band. The guitar riffs are exceptionally original, something which is hard to find these days in Death Metal. The vocals provided by Elliot Desgagnés are very well done, yet not very original. But hey, they get the job done, and they have a nice, dirty snarl to them.
"Profitable Killcount" is the first track I ever heard from these guys, and I was blown away. The intro is a nice tip o' the hat to fellow Canadians Cryptopsy, then it goes into full on headbang mode. The guitars are melodic in a strange yet pleasant way, and the drumming just does not give in. The break at 0:43 with the gravity blasts is beauty to behold. Sweep arpeggios are flying out at you from every direction, then suddenly, at 1:28, the band go into one of the grooviest, most ferocious breakdowns I've heard in a while. Fantastic stuff, it will get your head moving for sure. A Cryptopsy-esque guitar solo kicks in at 2:32, and it's pretty impressive, though the strong point of guitarist/mastermind Christopher Bradley are his riffs, most definitely.
"Totalitarian Hypnosis" is simply sex. It's a Death Metal dream come true. Bizarre fret board tapping unleashes those late '80's Nintendo like melodies, and gravity blasts are all over the place. It's technicality like this that makes Necrophagist look like Cher. When the verses kick in, we are treated to some more insane sweep arpeggios and blast beats, but the impressive thing here is that it's just so goddamn tight. So tight that it very well could have been recorded in an air lock room, it's fucking ridiculous. At some points it seems pretty inhuman (thanks to the drums, which sound a bit over processed) but that just adds to the overall feel of this EP. It's tight, it's savage, and it's extremely brutal and well played.
"Regurgitated Lullaby For The Born Dead" is one of my favourite tracks here. Drummer Justin Rousselle is the first to kick in, follow by some simple power chords, then paves the way for some more intense Nintendo-like sweep picking patterns. They use this technique quite a lot, but it always seems to fit and it's never out of place, and it's never overdone. The actual riffing in this song is very powerful, and the vocals follow everything quite nicely. One thing that is really impressive about this band are the breakdowns. I'm not a fan of slam riffs at all, and these can hardly be called so, but goddamn, are they ever devastating. The section that kicks in at 3:20 is simply fucking awesome. If Fear Factory were to play Tech-Death, then it would sound something like this. Absolute brilliance.
The final track on this EP, "Nevermore" kicks in with a nice riff, then launches into full on Death Metal mode. By this time you're still amazed at the sheer quality of this EP, the quality of the riffs, drumming, everything. I can't believe that these guys are so young! They shred and mosh with the best of them, if not better. Another one of those breakdowns can be found at 0:59 into "Nevermore", after which the band picks up the pace quite nicely once again, before the nice jazz interlude at 2:05. The song eventually fades out with the same breakdown found in this song. Superb.
Like I said before, there are way too many Death Metal bands on the scene these days, most of them being complete shit. Almost all either lack originality, or are just plain shit songwriters. Then, once every blue moon, comes a band so good, so right, that it simply cannot be mistaken for anything else. Beneath the Massacre are one of those bands which totally destroy the competition, and this album should light a fire under many asses. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how Technical Death Metal should sound. Tight, aggressive, and downright mean. The musicianship on this album is very, very high quality, and I can't wait for the full length. If they keep this up, then they'll have me as a fan for life.
Evidence of Inequity, the first release from the Montreal quartet Beneath the Massacre hits you like a ton of bricks from the first note to the last. Since it has only 5 tracks I'll g osong by song.
The opener is "Comforting Prejudice" but there is nothing comforting about it. Sweep arpeggios and monster riffs acoompanied by some of the fastest blast beats I've ever heard and vocals that are truly brutal in their attack. The song structure ranges from nintendo like lead guitar to big riffing on a constant basis with time changes galore.These guys enjoy their breakdowns and they do it well.
The second trackis "Profitable Killcount" and this one has a very Cryptopsy like intro with a groovy riff that once again leads to death metal mayhem. This song keeps you constantly on the edge of your seat. You can never prdict what's coming just because it's so fast. Another big breakdown and some amzing lead work seal the deal.
"Totalitarian Hypnosis" kicks off with what wound sound like a computer playing the guitar accompanied by a bass and blast beat. A Suffocation like riff follows and you find yourself headbanging. You realize at what point their drummer is simply amazing. Sopme of this stuff is pretty off the wall.
"Regurgitated Lullaby for the Born Dead" has some more sweep arpeggios and awesome riffs to match. Some very start/stop riffing characterizes this song. More Suffocation and Cryptopsy inspired parts and a very extreme bridge that leaves you gasping for air. Very good song.
The last song is "Nevermore" and is a very fast one. Blast beats and rapid time changes are abundant but perfectly executed. And then a mother of a breakdown hits you and Elliot Desgagné's dry vocal delivery gives us the part that is probably easiest to sing along to. There are some cool parts in this song. Jazzy sections melt into metal fury and back to that crushing breakdown that closes out the EP.
This band has amazing potential and the players are all exceptional on their respective instruments. If anything this might simply be a little short, spanning at a mere 17 minutes. But in another way it leaves craving for more. It seems Beneath the Massacre have a bright future ahead of them if they can keep this kind of intensity up.
OK, I think Certain_Death summed this album up pretty good... Guitars 2x as technical as Necrophagist, blast beats that Origin wished they had & all that... yet he failed to bring to your attention the super gay hardcore breakdowns similar to All That Remains with super heavy distortion. Don't get me wrong, I think this album rips ass & destroys alot of stuff in the brutality department that's out there right now, but for musicians of this caliber to arrange elementary breaks in this slab of crotch stomping brutality is just wrong to me. This EP is so damn good it's really a shame that all I can do is bash the small amount of gay breakdowns, but again I say they are capable of so much more than that musically. All in all if you like mega-brutal guttural Death Metal with almost unmatched speed & precision & can look past the breaks then Beneath The Massacre is the band you need to check out.