Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Beyond Creation – The Aura

April 4, 2011 • PRC Music

I've been listening to a lot of death metal lately. Don't ask me why; I guess it's just one of those phases (though I might have to blame Inanimate Existence). Beyond Creation is one of the many new modern-tech-death bands I've been pumping into my ears, and I have to say they're probably one of the better ones—and further evidence that Quebec has some of the best extreme metal out there.

It's tough to point to a specific thing that Beyond Creation does well, but I guess when it comes to death metal it's all about the riffs, isn't it? and this album has them in spades. The band does a great job of setting up nice groovy parts left and right while fitting all the parts together just right, and everything sounds very clean and meticulously-composed. Even the breakdowns are good—death metal breakdowns are all too often hamfisted and cheesy, but on The Aura they're actually done tastefully and don't overstay their welcome. There are also some nice pseudo-progressive, pseudo-jazzy clean parts to break up the intensity, and they're also done very well. All in all the band does a great job of not dawdling on one thing too long; they'll jump from crunchy headbanging riffs to furiously-paced wheedly guitar to energetic blasting, all at exactly the right moments. (Also, some fantastic bass work throughout—which I'm happy to say isn't rare in this kind of music, but it really shines here. They even have bass solos.)

Of course, like many other similar albums it does seem like it drags on a bit long, even at just fifty-two minutes. Maybe I'm noticing it now when listening a bit more closely instead of just jamming along while doing other stuff at work. Then again, I don't really notice much of a drop in quality anywhere—it's pretty consistent the whole way through—and that's always a good thing.

I won't say this album (or this band) will ever go down as some kind of classic. But after listening to what may be dozens of similar 2000s–10s death metal albums over the last few months, this one has managed to stay near the top of my list, so that's gotta be a good thing.

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