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In this first release from Beyond Creation, we see a great showcase of technical mastery, artistic songwriting, and creative styles. The band manages to meld a jazzy and progressive feel into this album that prevents it from being another stereotypical all-out death metal ear assault.
Throughout this album, the band exhibits the ability to write songs using varied structures and styles, while somehow managing to keep the songs sounding organized and even quite catchy. Aside from having some very good riffs, they add variety by having some very melodic, dark sections that work very well in the music. All of the band members' technical ability is exhibited, whether it be the at once fast and melodic guitar solos, the complex lead bass lines, or the drum fills.
This album really has a bit of music for everyone, from the brutal death metal end of the spectrum to those looking for something more progressive. On that first style, the drums and crushing riffs contribute to a heaviness not often seen in the melodic style of metal. On the other hand, the fretless bass does a truly mind-bending job of creating a level of atmosphere and beauty rarely seen in death metal.
For people seeking a good progressive metal album, this is a great listen that will be sure to please. Although the style is not for everyone, it is an ultimate masterpiece in its style.
Beyond Creation is like the Doomsday of technical death metal. Doomsday (the supervillain) was the result of lots of death, cloning, and genetic perfection, most known for being an utter force of destruction and putting Superman IN A GODDAMN COFFIN. They're from Quebec, a region known to produce bands that aren't far from Beyond Creation's scheme, such as Gorguts, Neuraxis, Quo Vadis, and Augury—a few members have had experience in some of the aforementioned groups and others that are similar in sound, in fact. Perhaps during the travels of its four members and the chemistry they'd shown, Beyond Creation grew into something much more powerful than its environment. "The Aura," released in 2011, is like a perfect storm within technical death metal: it does everything the subgenre promises, but with more strength, speed, stamina, creativity, and charisma than everything around it.
Beyond Creation (Doomsday) does not have any apparent weakness. They manage to pull off the technical/progressive death metal design à la Obscura (Brainiac) with more scientific instrumentation and bravery than the herd, yet avoid comical perplexities of groups like Brain Drill (Crazy Quilt). Doomsday, other than ruling the genetic construct, had once been known to be a bit of a simpleton, which explains the vocals, but hey, it all can't be perfect, right? Simon Girard applies low grunts and high shrieks often found in modern installments of this kind of thing, coming off as a basic growler who occasionally squeals like someone put the tip of a cotton swab up his urethra. Easily the worst part of the album; the only asset of the group that seems to play armchair QB while everyone else puts points on the board.
I guess the fun thing about technical death metal is how stagnant some bands make the overall picture look despite it being all over the place and filled with sweep picking, schizophrenic changeups, and the usual mumbo jumbo. In essence, the more they change, the more they continue inducing alcoholism in people like me. Beyond Creation, however, seems to not have this problem. On one hand, they are so traditional it almost hurts: there are unpredictable rhythms, straightforward riffs, sweep picking sections like you wouldn't believe, guitar solos everywhere, and many riffs and patterns per song that are used and then quickly swapped. The drums focus on blast beats and crazy fills, as any drummer in this niche is wont to do. The catch? The whole picture throughout "The Aura" manages to stick, and with remarkable ability. The anthems are all cohesive and intelligent, not mindlessly complex.
It helps that "The Aura" also applies a strong progressive/ambient touch to a handful of its numbers, although this concept is far from foreign, unless you find the works of Cynic or Atheist completely alien. For example, "Coexistence" erodes into an ambient-laden jam somewhere along its seven-minute journey, and finding an odd rhythm that is often associated with the progressive niche throughout many of the group's other algebraic slabs of meat is no uncommon find. "Elevation Path" is one of those soothing instrumentals that leads into "The Deported," an eleven-minute onslaught of utter madness that's the record's clear highlight. They pull out all the stops, crushing the listener in an abstract pounding of riotous riffs and ridiculous insanity. Be sure to wear a seatbelt if you make it this far.
Then, there's Dominic "Forest" Lapointe. I'm not exactly sure how one acquires a nickname like "Forest," as he does not sound leafy or appear surrounded by trees, but whatever. Lapointe is the band's bass player (fretless, to be exact), and he's the main draw to Beyond Creation; his performance is the key asset that makes "The Aura" so much more than just another Necrophagist knockoff. Underneath the technical swirling of riffs and spastic percussion, the bass is constantly paving its own path, frequently rising above and underneath whatever the remaining members are doing. It comes off as fresh instead of a tedious whirlwind of nonsense, although calling Lapointe's performance tame would be absurd. The bass tone (at least on the Season of Mist reissue) has a deep, rich omission of resonance that colors "The Aura" admirably. All in all, Beyond Creation is like the Redtube of bass porn.
I'm quite big on bass porn myself, so yeah, I enjoy what Lapointe does throughout the record, and it's pretty damn awesome how the whole band completely avoids burdening the comprehensive structure of the album with needless junk, although this is the kind of release that's extremely prone to such tomfoolery. "The Aura" is just a fun, enthralling experience that zaps life back into a subgenre that is known to frequently blow. Certainly Beyond Creation isn't the only one of its kind doing something worthwhile, but the group and "The Aura" both deserve praise for doing what everyone else is doing, yet doing it better than everyone else. If Doomsday killed Superman, then who does Beyond Creation kill? Maybe they're better suited to be Hugo Strange.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
To this day, I'm not entirely sure of my final verdict on whether or not I support or condemn technical death metal as a whole- sure, it blew my mind at first due to the unrelenting speed and just the amount of STUFF that was going on in the music, but as many quickly learn, there is such a thing as using restraint and not displaying the same tricks over and over again and a lot of bands playing in that vein tend to forget that. It's a genre that can be very easily fucked up and is difficult to play, not just in terms of instrumental skill but actually creating a worthwhile album as well. This little mini-review series is my way of sorting out my real opinion on tech-death by taking a look at a few bands on vastly different ends of the tech-death spectrum (it's a surprisingly diverse genre) and seeing why I like some and dislike others with some sort of sense of continuity throughout the reviews. Hopefully you like reading it as much as I liked writing it, and I promise outside of this paragraph I'll be as self-referential as little as I possibly can.
The single most important thing about writing a technical death metal album is this: don't force the speed and complexity. That's it. If you don't do that that's half the battle right there. Far too often the displays of incredibly dexterous and complicated musicianship seem to merely serve as a display of such and don't in any way attempt to be interesting or memorable. The lack of purposeless technicality is one of the main selling points here on The Aura. Previous recent reviewers have many complaints about the "constant noodling" on the album, but I could easily refer you to many bands off the top of my head in technical death metal today that are far more abundant in noodling sections (to be discussed in further reviews...) Beyond Creation is clearly a riff-based band first and foremost, a Quebecnical death metal band coming from a long line of Quebecnical bands from all over the map. Anything from riff heavy prog death like Augury and Neuraxis, deathcore a la Despised Icon and melodic death metal like Quo Vadis can be seen as influences on this album's overall flavor ("Coexistence" features some very groovy, midpaced and not particularly technical Quo Vadis-esque riffing for a majority of its runtime), but aesthetically the band this first brings to mind is Obscura, mostly due to the prominent bass (don't listen to the naysayers! The bass isn't annoying in the slightest and it's nice to at the very least hear it featured on a death metal album instead of being drowned out like it usually is, it does some interesting standalone things too.) and the actual presence of catchy, hooky melodies. I usually dislike a lot of this crap because it's unmemorable, and a lot of people seem to have hand-waved this album away under that assertion as well, but Beyond Creation have a melodic death metal edge assisted by the prominent bass makes for some pretty infectious riffs. The title track has some good ones and and if you don't think the main riffs of the shorter, punchier songs featured on the album ("Chromatic Horizon" and "Le Detenteur") aren't damn catchy and memorable goddammit pay attention the next time around.
Yes, I understand this might blur past you quickly because there's a lot of riffs and they're widdly widdly and whatnot, but trust me, after a few listens it becomes a little more apparent that this is more just a melodic death metal album with a technical flair as opposed to vice versa. Usually after a few repeated listens the "wow that was fast" factor wears off and all that's left is a pile of uninteresting shit, but after it wears off is a pile of great melodic death metal riffs that sound like Augury and Quo Vadis songs covered by Obscura. Some parts are more interesting than others but they generally hit the mark more than they miss it, especially when they take a breather and just get in a groove for a bit. This really doesn't need the "progressive" tag though- honestly not everything with atypical song structures and clean bridges is progressive since that's pretty much order of the day for this kind of music anyways. This is pretty much straight up melodic tech death if you were to give it a pedantically specific genre tag.
The bitching about the lack of songwriting ability was downright perplexing for me because these guys are easily some of the more capable songwriters in modern technical death. There's tension built up and released in breakdowns, verse riffs are repeated at regular intervals throughout a song and bridges and similar-themed riffs string things together- the songs may be somewhat overloaded and complicated but they have a clear direction and purpose that gets across well if you're familiar with where they're coming from. The vocalist is kind of inconsequential, but guess what? That's the case most of the time with this style. He's competent and at the very least shows a fair range of styles without being actively irritating. He takes a backseat a lot of the time (not necessarily in the mix, though...), and there's other things worth paying attention to so it's no big deal in the end. They serve as a nice reminder, too. What genre is this supposed to be again? Death growls! Right. Death metal.
This appears to be a somewhat polarizing release, which is stupefying to say the least- It's not like this shit hasn't been pulled before by Augury and Obscura, and yet this is the album that creates the uproar? Okay. This is one of the few examples of the potential tech-death can have when it's done right, but it's nothing revolutionary- it takes a few interesting and minimally-exploited styles of death metal and presents them under a new banner. The Aura is worth your money, rumors of excessive noodling have been greatly exaggerated.
As if taking the piss out of one crappy modern tech death band this week wasn't enough, I felt it only necessary to give a listen to Canadian death metal band no. 452, Beyond Creation. Hailed by many as the shining beacon of light in the technical death metal scene of today, it's an absolute wonder to me that their debut record The Aura is being hailed far and wide as a masterpiece of its intended subgenre. This record is anything but a masterpiece. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this record almost completely sucks. Why you ask? Well maybe it's because of the incredibly poor song writing. Or perhaps it's the fault of the terrible mix, as well as the simply atrocious drum sound that has come along with said terrible mix. Maybe I just don't know what I'm talking about and I'm just "jealous that I can't play as fast as the band" as a negative remark on my most recent Rings of Saturn review claimed, although I highly doubt that.
Those that don't already know my inherently negative feelings about modern technical death metal should know that I mostly hate it. To me, it's a sea of Brain Drill clones that do nothing but sweep pick, blast beat, and growl with what sounds like an identical singer for each band while occasionally throwing in an actual riff, although those tend to be very few and far between. Beyond Creation, while not completely conforming to the "beat the listener in the fact for 40 minutes with nothing but fretboard masturbation" method of tech death, have adopted the generally not that good songwriting of fellow genre bands such as Brain Drill, Beneath the Massacre, and the all around atrocious Rings of Saturn. The band seem to have attempted the opposite of no two songs sounding the same here, as no one song has any real identity of its own, each consisting of fast blasting sections, slow, jazzy grooving sections, annoying tapping and sweep picking sections that wouldn't sound out of place in a glitching NES game, and occasionally some deathcore styled breakdowns, with no smooth transition or lead in/out from one section to another. Even with the flowing undercurrent of melody there to separate it from most of the rest of the modern tech death bands out there, it is still for naught as the writing overall is just not engaging enough to justify more than one curiosity listen. One of the big problems for me is that there are some great riffs on this record, particularly in the instrumental "Chromatic Horizon", which is probably the one track from this album that I'd go back to and listen to for enjoyment, only the band squanders these good riffs by having every other aspect of the music surrounding them utterly worthless. The transitions are, as mentioned, jarring and inconsistent, each song sounds pretty much identical, and the mix, which I will address later on, is just awful. It's very much the problem I have with the music side of Liturgy, how both these bands show throughout their respective records that lying underneath all the bullshit is indeed a great band just waiting and wanting to show itself. Sadly, these flashes of brilliance are bogged down beyond rescue by everything else sucking as hard as it does.
The other major problem for me when it comes to this record is the mix. Quite simply put, this record sounds like shit. Let us assemble a checklist of every cliched problem with this album's mix, shall we? Overly compressed and brickwalled beyond belief? Check. Guitars overpowered by the drums and vocals? Bingo. Vocals even more overbearing and annoyingly in-your-face than you would ever possibly want them to be? Abso-friggin-lutely. Drums sound like a series of farts and clicks and in almost no way resemble how drums are supposed to sound? Indeed. Inaudible bass? Actually no, as the bass on this album is quite audible. While normally this would be a good thing, as I absolutely despise the fact that bass is made practically silent on most modern records, the bass here sounds so ridiculously warbly and up front that it's a major distraction from everything else going on. The fretless sound employed on this record is just annoying in how over the top it is, as there is not a hint of subtlety to be found as the band smacks you in the face with "We're a technical death metal band! We have fretless bass! That makes us good by default!" No, it doesn't. In addition to the bass being way too much to handle, the vocals are as stereotypical of modern death metal as possible, with a never ending supply of mediocre growls, shrieks, and pig squeals to contribute to the listener's ever growing issues with tinnitus. The fact that they're mixed the loudest out of everything on the album is even more a burden on my ears, as they are even more over the top and ridiculous than the bass is. Sterile, robotic, and with a not-so-healthy scent of plastic covering it, the whole thing just reeks of inherently bad modern mixing, and that's exactly what it is.
As mentioned earlier on, underneath all the crappy aspects of The Aura, all the poor transitions, the non-engaging writing style, falling victim to almost every possible problem one can fall victim to in modern metal album mixing, is a genuinely good, possibly even great, band that is just dying to come to the surface and let the world taste its wares. That is, unfortunately, not to be with Beyond Creation, who are nothing more than just another lame modern tech death band in a sea of lame modern tech death bands. And to me, inconsistency and not realizing one's full potential is just as bad, if not worse, than consistent sucking. While I can see why some people would enjoy this band and album, I can also see why some people enjoy feces porn and snuff films. Doesn't automatically make it great though, and Beyond Creation will have to shed a lot of the fat away and make a lot of changes in order to get me to pay attention in the future.
Beyond Creation are a technical death metal band, among the finer gymnasts of the genre. This album is a polished exhibition of impressive technical chops, mechanically performed and very complicated. This band can do a lot with their skills, and they most certainly do a lot. The problem is that all of it is boring, unmemorable wankery.
Leads and licks are not riffs. While some guitar acrobats can turn shredding into a hook and build a song around it - such as Jeff Loomis' "Miles of Machines" - this band aimlessly wanks and turns dissonant guitar noodling into the main attraction. When the guitars repeat a riff a few times, the bass endlessly doodles underneath. The bass tracks throughout the album are constantly wandering aimlessly - these aren't the bass tracks for this album, someone must have put this guy's instructional DVD into the mix instead. This guy contests Steve Vai as the biggest wanker in music!
In addition to the riffs being boring, most of the album demonstrates a poor habit of poorly and quickly transitioning from one part to the next, with hardly a rhyme nor reason other than the need to shove more riffs into the mix above the never-ending bass solo. There's hardly anything resembling a decent hook, everything is boring and forgettable, a technical show that reminds you that these fellows can play their instruments really well, but they can't write a song that's not the riffing equivalent of a tire fire. They shred it and forget it. Showed off that lick? Good, only 187 more to go!
Beyond Creation have no sense of making good music, they basically made a death metal album that's the equivalent to watching video after video of "sickest guitar and bass solos" on YouTube for the sake of showing off and called it a death metal album. This is incredibly tasteless and forgettable wankery in and out.
(Subtitle: "Featuring the adults from Peanuts on the bass guitar!")
Welcome to Jerking the Circle! A new series wherein I tackle seemingly universally well loved albums that I can't help but feel actually kinda suck! Today I shall steel myself against the waves of vitriolic nationalist scorn, as I'm here to point out to everybody that the latest Quebecnichal band that's apparently taken the metal fandom by storm, Beyond Creation, is actually not all that good or interesting.
A few quick things right off the bat; yes, I used to sing this album's praises back in early 2011 when it first dropped. The things I said about it back then are still true to an extent, but with time the album really grows away from you, as the poorly thought out compositions, excessive noodliness, and just overall shoddy execution really begins to grate on one's ears. Secondly, yes, the bassist from Augury is stunningly talented, and his fretless tones really help give the album an identity. Unfortunately, for all the band member's skill, none of them can put their ideas together in an enjoyable fashion. The Aura is basically a 52 minute blur of faceless technicality and wrrrow WRRROW sounding basslines.
And yet, that seems to be the main draw of the band. On the few occasions where I can break my head above the overwhelming flood of ejaculate and catch my breath, I hear praise that champions the band's outside-the-box approach, heavy melody, and that ever prevalent fretless bass. All of this stuff is true, the bass is above even DD Verni in the "look at me! I'm important!" department, there is an absolute abundance of melody, and the songwriting is very... erm, "progressive". Upon my first listen to this, I was reminded of fellow Francophone Habs fanatics, Neuraxis, but that comparison doesn't really stick outside of the first song and a couple occasional sections here and there (like in "Le Detenteur"). I like Neuraxis because they're basically just really, really fast death metal, complete with real riffs played at blinding speed. Beyond Creation here is, more often than not, true to the common criticism of being a group of dudes just playing a bunch of stuff. Just that. Stuff. That's what The Aura is. It's just a bunch of... stuff.
It's hard to point out specific sections because there are so many different things happening that all somehow manage to sound the same. There are a couple traditional breakdowns scattered about (like in "Coexistence", "Injustice Revealed", and the 11 minute failed epic, "The Deported"), some more tripped out, proggy moments, the really cool Neuraxis styled riff batteries, and absolutely incessant "wrow wrow" bass. Seriously, it permeates through every single moment, regardless of what the rest of the band is doing, and it's more distracting than anything. Maybe it's like King Diamond where his voice is annoying to some people but absolutely integral to both Mercyful Fate and his solo band to others, but here I just can't get behind it. Steve DiGiorgio plays a fretless bass too but he doesn't stand in front of your face and just woobly wrow wrow in your face for a whole goddamn Sadus album. That dude from Hibria gets crap for playing too many notes as well, but man he reins it in for most of the songs and just decides to showcase the fact that he has thirteen fingers every once in a while, he isn't desperately trying to push the guitarists out of his way at every opportunity. No I cannot let this go. It's so fucking distracting, I forget what most of the album sounds like because I just keep remembering the modulated moose bellows every goddamn bar. Seriously, stop it, Jaco, before I sic a kung fu superbouncer on you.
Forcing your way past the excessively irritating moan of the bass can be a challenge, but if you can somehow manage it, you'll find that the rest of the songs really aren't all that interesting. They get a lot of kudos for being proggy, but apart from the occasional tripped out and atmospheric interlude, I'm not entirely sure why. I don't mean to imply that I'm devaluing this for being pretty standard, but apart from the lengthy runtimes, yeah The Aura is pretty standard. Yeah yeah it doesn't follow the traditional verse-chorus-yakkity-yak template, but you know who else doesn't? Almost every other death metal band on the planet. Unconventional structuring is pretty much the convention in death metal, and the mere fact that Beyond Creation tends to use more sections per song than most doesn't inherently make them any more progressive or advanced than Cannibal Corpse. But even with the nomenclature dispute aside, nothing here manages to stick. It's odd because they do a lot of different stuff, but it's all thrown together in a really slapdash style. "The Deported" is a great example, because it kind of wanders in and out between high tempo breakdowns and slow, jazzy solo sections throughout the entire eleven minute runtime, and it manages to do so with only one coherent transition. And even if it was more cohesive and tied together by an idea more complex than "tapping sections, weird off-time jazz percussion, and BASS BASS BAAAAASS", it wouldn't really matter because the individual sections of each song are pretty dull themselves. The entire album just kinda happens without much consequence. No particular part will grab you due to a very well done riff, or great solo section, or memorable melody, or strong climax, or pretty much anything. This album plateaus from the start and never gets more or less interesting as it goes on.
So yeah, The Aura is a collection of well performed but utterly uninteresting tech death pieces that wouldn't stand out in the slightest if it weren't for that motherfucking bass. I get it though, I really do. I understand that they're playing to their strengths because the man is a very proficient bass player, the issue is that none of the members can count "songwriting" as one of their strengths. Beyond Creation is like that one dude who has incredible puck handling skills and can make crazy trick shots in a shootout situation, but the instant you put him on a team you realize he can't pass and has no idea how to handle defense and causes a bunch of turnovers. There really isn't a whole lot I can recommend other than showy instrumentals, and that really doesn't make for a worthwhile album on the whole.
Originally written for Lair of the Bastard
Canadian death metal has always been about Cryptopsy for me, with their landmark albums None So Vile and Blasphemy Made Flesh being some of the definitive albums for technical death metal. Yet Beyond Creation, with their debut full length album The Aura deviates from the brutal stylistics of the aforementioned, and this year sees the album being reissued under Season of Mist 2 years after its initial release year.
Instead, Beyond Creation has picked a sound that leans more towards the progressive and technical style of German prog/tech death stalwarts Obscura and Necrophagist. The album may have started off rather aggressively with No Request for the Corrupted, easily reminding one of the brutal style of technical death metal such as Suffocation with the riffing patterns of guitarists Simon and Kevin, but pretty quickly the band displays their true style of music. The focus on the lead guitars and the complex riffs that Simon and Kevin unleash quickly remind one of the style of Obscura, and there are even times on the album where the band goes into somewhat neoclassical moments, making such comparisons all the more obvious.
As is expected by a band of such stylistics, each of the instruments on the album are equally technical, and each of the members of the band are certainly masters of their crafts. The bass of Dominic has a constantly high presence throughout the album, and the quirky lines that are unleashed by him aren’t unlike the works on Obscura‘s releases. Omnipresent Perception even includes an extended bass solo, allowing Dominic to really display his talent in its full glory. Drummer Guyot’s performance on the album is also stunning, and the shifts between different styles of drumming and time signatures are evident of his skills and versatility. Furthermore, he provides much of the energy on the album, keeping things interesting throughout.
As if the band’s technical capabilities aren’t obvious enough, there are shorter interludes on the album as well such as Chromatic Horizon and Elevation Path on that are pure instrumental tracks that allow the band to show off not only the abilities on their instruments, but also in their composition skills as well, fitting in seamlessly with the rest of the album. On Omnipresent Perception, the band even has current Cryptopsy guitarist Christian Donaldson make a guest appearance, providing some brutality to the music, once again throwing in some surprises to the listener.
The visual aesthetics of the band almost led to me mistake them for a deathcore band, especially with their deathcore-ish band logo. Though there are certain moments where the band threatens to go into such territory such as the breakdowns on Coexistence, The Aura has certainly been a nice surprise, and the complexity that is contained on the disc is sure to please anyone with a penchant for technically challenging, yet melodic music.
The Season of Mist reissue of the album also includes a demo version of Injustice Revealed, and is definitely a nice bonus track for fans of the band and this release.
It's not very often to come by a progressive, technical death metal band with such incredible and phenomenal musicianship in every member. Beyond Creation have made a true masterpiece in their debut full length album "The Aura". In this album, you hear perfectly written guitar and bass solos, fantastic drumming, and strong, powerful vocals. The effort from each member is equal on a monumental level, and is a perfect start for this band.
One aspect about this album that you cannot find in numerous records in metal is the use of the bass guitar. Dominic Lapointe uses a 6 string fretless bass guitar and has bass solos throughout the album. I love to hear the bass guitar on any record, but this surpasses any other bass performance I have ever heard on a metal album. On the fourth track of the album, "Omnipresent Perception", the fretless bass solo will blow you away. The bass shines in every track, and is flawless throughout.
Although the bass was the most unique part of the record, the guitars are also amazing. Guitarists Simon Girard and Kevin Chartre are both excellent and give beyond incredible performances throughout. Seeing how Girard uses an 8 string and Chartre a 7 string, the range of each solo by the two are vast. Each solo is perfectly written, flawlessly played, and some of the best in progressive tech death. Even the drumming is beyond exceptional. Drummer Phillippe Boucher gives a great performance in "The Aura" and is great addition to the already other-worldy talent of Beyond Creation. Even the range of vocals is astounding for a band of this genre. Every element of "The Aura" is perfect.
There is only one problem. I have NO IDEA how this band can get any better. Each element of this album is flawless. It is amazing it took so long for these guys to get signed. They could be worthy of headlining huge tours with this debut album alone. No album has ever been this beautiful, yet so brutal at the same time. It's an epic clash of wonder and brutality, and I am in complete shock by this record.
I have absolutely NO complaint about "The Aura". This is absolute musical perfection. The first album of Beyond Creation is definitely in the top five best progressive tech death albums of all time. Pick this album up right away, and you will love it from start to finish. This truly is a ground breaking album in progressive technical death metal.
In the cluttered world of technical death metal, it can be quite difficult to stand out from the countless hordes of bands that seem engaged in a frantic arms race, ever more technical, faster and more brutal. Will Beyond Creation, which can count among its ranks the talent and the 6 strings of Dominic "Forest" Lapointe, succeed in standing out and offering something new to the genre? It would be futile to try to hide the answer ...
From listening to the first notes of the album, one is already impressed by the production, which sits high up in the already demanding standards of tech death. All instruments are perfectly audible (including of course the fretless bass of Forest) and interact harmoniously without ever overshadowing the others. This is particularly welcomed because in this album, there are no real solos, as the performances of each member are all intricate and outstanding.
If there was one word to summarize the compositions of the band, it would probably be : harmony. The songs are able to mix many influences and moods while keeping the technical level extremely high, but also without falling into the virtuosity demonstration. Brutal, melodic, catchy and ambient moments keep coming effortlessly, and the songwriting is so fluid that it is inconceivable to be bored for a moment: no riff seems too long or misplaced, and every note rings true. It is particularly difficult to side with one piece over another, but The Deported undoubtedly wins a prize with his 11-minute auditory orgasm.
Similarly, each musician seems more talented than others: the guitars are crushing and ferocious, while featuring intricate tappings and breathtaking solos, the bass stands out very often and fully exploits the possibilities of the fretless bass, and the drummer's performance is among the best I've had the pleasure of hearing. The man seems to have an unlimited imagination for fills and can play a seemingly infinite variety of blast beats. Regarding the vocals, the growl of Simon Girard is not extremely original, but it is perfectly executed and accompanied by a rich variety of vocal techniques : screams, shrieks and even a few well placed inhales.
Is The Aura perfect? One could be tempted to say so. Beyond the compelling qualities of its production, its composition and its interpretation, this album brings a daring and unexpected look to the genre, merging influences from multiple backgrounds to forge a unique artistic experience. This is a debut album, but it is also a masterpiece, and all we can do now is wait for a sequel.
I'm finding myself at the threshold of feeling old, listening to new bands anymore. I listen to new bands daily, I see mostly kids with too much time and money who think buying a new guitar with another lower string makes them more brutal. Thinking that adding more sweeps to their silly little stockpile of cheap tricks makes them talented. Which is why I'm thrilled to have found this band.
Beyond Creation belongs to the Quebecois technical death metal scene; that should give you an idea of what they're about. Intense rhythmic, yet melodic guitar work, fretless bass, quick, tight drumming and tidy production values with a side of noodles. You may or may not be a fan of the genre and scene associated with Quebec, but it does not matter. Never mind Quebec, never mind Canada, never mind North America; this is one of the best metal bands in the world.
As anyone who's read my reviews would know, I am very, very reluctant to give such an accolade. The band to me, has to be top to bottom killing it; thoroughly impressive in every way. Understand, I'm someone whose played and studied music his whole life, and taken in more music than most people are aware even exists. This band is the genuine article.
Meaningful, and fitting lyrics. At times, as esoteric as the music. The guitar work is unique, tasteful, punchy, memorable, and the bass isn't going through the motions following the guitar by any means. Probably the best use of fretless bass I've heard in metal - I know, Steve DiGiorgio and a handful of other players/bands come to mind, and you think "No way this is better", well it is. This bass adds so much harmony, so much tonal color (if that term is wasted on you, then I'm sorry about your life) and lots of atmosphere. The bass contributes so much to this album aside from a unique sound. The final chord played in the instrumental track Chromatic Horizon is just one of the most perfect uses of the electric fretless bass. Yes, a true music nerd can geek on a single chord, get with it kid.
Keyboards are in the mix helping give a lot of background; used very tastefully and helping the atmosphere of the album immensely. When other death metal, even most progressive death metal bands, use softer passages, slower parts, or pan the metal for a second, it's normally nothing to write home about. This band's soft, atmospheric parts are every bit as good as the metal. This bands balance and ratio of fast to slow, of calm to brutal, and consonant to dissonant is spot on as well.
This music is constantly changing and moving in an interesting direction - not changing just to change, not being technical just to do it - but for the sake of making the song more interesting and engaging. Any given part of any given song could move into something you didn't see coming, and it was way cooler than what you had thought. Contrast is a big part of what this band does; I notice a lot of this "wall of sound" bands like Origin now; it makes it sound less heavy if you're doing it non-stop. Like the whirl of a fan, it kind of fades into the background, but drop the crushing metal in after an awesome trance-inducing passage and it sounds that much more heavy. This band also does this much better than most.
The songs are well varied, there's lot of nods to an assortment of genres without moving away from their signature sound. There is so much character and originality to this music. The title track is a bona fide masterpiece. It's one of those pieces of music that goes above my jaded, lofty expectations; it really transcends expectations of genres and being metal. The only word I can use to describe it is mystifying. I could write more about this, and I would love to, but it's pretty intangible. You have to hear it yourself. Get yourself a real set of speakers, not some fuckwad ear buds, but real quality, over-the-ear headphones, or some quality speakers with a subwoofer and tweeters and listen to this entire album with your undivided attention; that's what it deserves.
I don't mean to gush (look at my reviews, I'm definitely not one to gush), but I cannot find flaw in this album. It does not get any better than this. A true masterpiece.
This here is an example of a band doing things right, releasing their first full length album this year- and while I am reluctant to give any record 100% no matter how good the content may be, this release is the absolute sound of heavy metal perfection.
There is not one member present who is the weakest link, as every musician brings exactly what they need to the table, and enhance the music that much more by not overdoing a thing. The music is extremely technically proficient of course, but not at the expense of memorable and wholesome song writing. The blast beats and frenzied guitar lines can tear you apart, but can also sound fitting and beautiful.
Guitarists Simon Girard and Kevin Chartre make excellent use of extended range guitars, never falling into a predictable chug along groove but instead utilizing the true capabilities of the instruments. The tone is crunchy but clear, and that goes for the solo tone as well. It's been a long time since I've heard a really good solo section as well- not a solo, but entire sections devoted to guitar solos, and these guys are both beyond capable of crafting spectacular solos. They can both shred like maniacs, but without sounding pretentious about such endeavors.
Simon also pulls double duty by being the lead vocalist. His growl is good and low, but he also uses a high pitched shriek that he uses sparingly, and is never annoying.
Bass legend Dominick "Forest" LaPointe covers low end duties in this band, and his playing is simply awe-inspiring. Unlike most modern day metal albums, the bass shines through at every second of this record's run time, and it sound incredible. LaPointe uses a 6 string fretless bass that truly has a unique and beautiful tone, and his bass lines are like an entirely separate composition within each song. In addition, he also has a few bass solos on here, which is just the coolest thing ever. It is so refreshing to hear a bassist as prolific as this.
Lastly, the drums. I was taken aback by the drum performance I found on here, because I was not expecting it. Typically, you know what to expect when it comes to drums on a technical death metal record, but this guy just shatters every single pretense you may have. He is a masterful drummer in every sense of the term- he knows just what to play, never stealing the spotlight but always playing with undoubted expertise and precision. Just listen to the lead break on Omnipresent Perception; you will never find a better place for a gravity blast, but it won't last for long until he switches to a different beat. Perfection.
All of the members add their own expertise to the mix, and this record comes out full to the brim with ideas- every song is like four compositions in one. The final product is a triumphant display of instrumental mastery that never sounds too pretentious. This is undoubtedly one of the best of 2011, but sticks in my mind as one of the greatest examples of technical death metal ever conceived. Expect big things from Beyond Creation in the future.
Standout tracks are No Request for the Corrupted, Coexistence, Omnipresent Perception, The Aura, and The Deported.
This band seems to have jumped out of nowhere. My friend told me to go on youtube, type in "progressive technical death metal" and listen to the first band that came up (he didnt remember their name but that's how he found them). I've been listening to them non-stop since them and I am constantly finding new things to love about this album, which I rushed to get mere hours after finding out about this band.
The description progressive technical death metal fits this band very well. Their songs are very technical, but not out of the need to show off. The sound quality, production, and mixing are all impeccable. No single instrumentalist in this band falls short of being astounding, commanding their chosen instruments skillfully and lovingly.
Drums- Guyot Begin-Benoit
The drums blast away with both speed and grace, knowing when create a thunderous wave of percussion and when to relax and let the other instruments do the talking. Never does the drummer come close to sounding overly repetive or bland, he keeps his performance interesting throughout the album, and compliments the other instrument very well.
Bass- Dominic "Forest" Lapointe
The bassist is truly amazing, so its good that he can be heard loud and clear throughout the album. It would have been a crime to the bassist and to the listeners if he had been put into the back of the mix. His 6-string fretless bass has a very unique sound, somewhat off-putiing at first I'll admit, but once you get used to the strange sound you begin to love the swirling, twisting sound it creates. Instead of just mirroring the guitar or playing repetitive rythms, the bass goes off in its own direction, sometimes even stepping completely into the spotlight and stealing the show. It amazes me how well the bass compliments the music, considering how easily it could have clashed with all the other instruments if it wasn't so well written and well played.
Guitars- Simon Girard and Kevin Chartre
The guitars are well up to par with the rest of the instruments, being extremely technical and lightning fast without ever putting pure show-offery before sounding good. You can tell from the start that a lot of love was put into the guitars' songwriting, they flow from one riff to the next smoothly, speeding up and slowing down, they always stay interesting, repeating riffs enough to make them memorable, but never enough to become repetitive. Harmonizing and other melodic elements such as counterpoint are used very well and thankfully not overused. The few breakdowns this album has are well done, adding to the song's structure instead of disrupting the flow (and this is coming from someone who hates breakdowns 90% of the time). The solos are fairly frequent, simultaniously showing amazing technical skill and masterful songwriting. The album's 11 minute closing song almost feels like it went by too fast because of the guitars' ever-changing structure. The sound the guitars create through the album varies vastly, going from sounding beautiful to sounding heavy to sounding completely epic constantly. The extended range of the 8 string guitars is used to its full extent, never falling victim to the endless chugging many 8 string users do.
Vocals- Simon Girard
The vocals, while being the least impressive part of the band, are very well done. The singer's raspy voice has a good range of sound, which keeps his singing fresh throughout the album. His deep, imposing roars sound powerful, while his higher pitched, air-splitting screams sound mean and shrill without being annoying. From what I've been able to understand so far, the band's lyrical themes are far from generic death metal gore-worship and violence. The lyrics seem very well thought out and inspiring, a feeling you don't get from bands that sing about random gore or senseless violence.
Overall, an amazing album, probably in my top three of all time, and I've listened to a LOT of death metal. Their sound is unique and varied. They sound beautiful and heavy, fast and under control, not just talented but virtuosic. I cannot wait to see how this band progresses in their future albums. I'd recommend this album to any metalhead, no matter what his/her favourite sub-genre is. From the casual melodeath fan to the snobbiest elitist out there, this album has something for everyone.