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Beneath the Massacre have had their share of career ups and downs since their formation in 2004. The Quebec oriented Canadians found both their first EP and debut album to be generally welcomed amongst audiences. Undoubtedly talented and possessing all of the ingredients it takes to go far, the band soon found underground fame and began headlining tours. When their second full-length effort, Dystopia, dropped in 2008, Beneath the Massacre were met with a generally negative response from a disappointed crowd. Two years later a redeeming effort was made with their second EP, Marée Noire, which kept fans tied over long enough for a new record. Will the third full-length installment follow in the steps of its highly successful preceding EP?
Unfortunately not, absolutely all of the clear-layered production is gone in Incongruous and instead what is left are the ashes of an overproduced mess. From start to finish, the album is flat to the point where it sounds as if a steam-roller had passed over it a few times, squishing the layers together and fused them into one massive clump of clutter. Everything production-wise that Beneath the Massacre had done to better themselves has completely vanished and the content is impoverished.
The vocalist doesn't tend to change his range or pattern very often, so through the majority of the content there is nothing but an irritatingly consistent bland barking of gruff, inarticulate lyrics that overlay berserk instruments. This wouldn't be so inexcusable if the vocalist bothered to form all of his lyrics, but the way word fragments are just dropped randomly here and there makes the content sound sloppy.
There is one song present that gives a slight shimmer of hope, "It" has an incredible solo that suddenly bursts with clarity and an audible separation to all of the other elements present, so the band are proven capable to be able to achieve this effect and use it to their advantage, but yet they don't. The clarity continues from the solo and really lets the drums come through with more powerful clarity than anywhere else on this album. This effect fades away once the next riff takes over and like a curtain being pulled over, the content becomes one big audible blur once more.
Not all is lost on Incongruous, aside from the little explosion in "It" there is also "Left Hand". This song features some nice technical scales and sweeps spread around. The instrumental title track, "Incongruous", is unarguably the heaviest and most well structured song on the track listing and is also the shortest. "Pedestal" features some of the most extravagant double bass drumming in this material also.
While Beneath the Massacre are undoubtedly talented, their talents go to waste due to poorly chosen production values. The band proved that they could achieve a clear audible depth which is desperately needed given how much is going on in any given song. Without this, the instruments just consume each other.
Incongruous isn't terrible, but it's your basic run of the mill technical death metal with some generic brutality thrown in the cart. There isn't even really a whole lot in the way of breakdowns, and if it weren't for the few present this could pass for trying to be brutal technical death metal. This album falls incredibly short of the new heights reached by Marée Noire.
- Villi Thorne