December 13, 2008

CD Review: Beneath the Massacre - Dystopia

Sometimes I hate being me. No, it's all right, I am not depressed or anything. The problem is that I want to write about and experience so many different films, shows, and bands that it is easy to fall behind. Easier still is to realize that no matter how much you do, there is a veritable avalanche of more material coming your way. It can also be seen as a problem when I identify as a metal fan and discover so many different styles and sounds that I have yet to experience. I think it is my lack of deep experience in any one area combined with my surface experience in a lot of areas that helps perpetrate these thoughts. In any case, listening to the the latest release from Canadian metallers Beneath the Massacre brings those thoughts to mind.

I am sure you are wondering how the two are related. Well, it began when I first started playing Dystopia and tried to figure out what genre they are. The first word that came to mind was grind because I was vaguely reminded of Cephalic Carnage (whose release, Xenosapien, was one of my favorite albums of 2007). Then, as I began to read up a little on them I saw their style referred to as death metal, death-core, brutal death, and technical death. Well, color me confused. I hate these genre labels. Anyway, I think they are a cross between grind and tech-death, using Cephalic Carnage and Decapitated as my reference points.

beneaththemassacreIf you could not tell, Dystopia is my first introduction to Beneath the Massacre, who released their full-length debut, Mechanics of Dysfunction, last year through Prosthetic Records. Now, I have not heard that for comparison, but let me tell you, Dystopia is a wild ride of technical prowess and repetition. I mean that in the best possible way.

Beneath the Massacre crams in eleven songs in less than 33-minutes, although it could just as easily be seen as one song that runs for nearly 33-minutes. Yes, it is hard to distinguish one song from the next, but I am cool with that. Basically, all it means is that I can start this up anywhere and be just as happy with the outcome.

When you leave the actual songs out of it and listen to the music the real fun begins. This music is heavy, brutal, non-stop, and just sweeps you up into its insane forward motion. There is no time to stop and catch your breath, around every turn is another riff, speed run, blast beat, or some other method of pushing your forward. There is no turning back, no escape, and no mercy, just the way it should be.

This is a union of mosh inducing riffage and tech speed that creates a monster topped by grade A cookie monster vocals. Despite having no clue what is being said, I dig the sound of Elliot Desgagn├ęs' voice. That makes a big difference for me, with so many sound alike voices it takes a lot to even stand out a little, and these do stand out a little, but to be honest are the last thing I like about the band.

What sells me on Beneath the Massacre is the combination of Christopher Bradley's insanely speedy guitars and Justin Rousselle's blast beat-laden drums. The skills of these two are considerable and make me want to keep coming back for more. If anything, the album could use a stronger presence from Dennis Bradley's bass, I do not hear much of it throughout.

Usually I try to point you towards a few of the best songs, but considering the style and the way it plays out, why bother? If you like metal and have a half hour to fill, check out Dystopia, you may be surprised by what you find. No, nothing revolutionary, but definitely solid.



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