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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.