Dear Metalreviews readers, I am so excited to review this album I don’t know where to start! How about, not everything is bad (in the musical sense of the word) on this side of the Atlantic pond if the bands like Beyond the Flesh can put out albums. But also, where the Hell Metal Blade, Crash Music, and other American based labels are looking? Do they expect a better than What the Mind Perceives sophomore album will show up on their doorstep? I highly doubt it. Why it is then Beyond the Flesh is still unsigned? Along with Summer Dying and Throcult (also reviewed on these pages) this band is probably the best lacking notoriety American outfit to come in years. My fellow reviewer Jay may mention Trivium as well. All these newcomers different and are good in their own right. Trivium is almost too clean and polished, Summer Dying clearly goes all the way back to the old Gothenborg days and Throcult leans heavily on its blackened side. Beyond the Flesh, on the other hand, combines sharpness and melodicism of the older European thrash death metal with American aggressive edge creating a sound readily familiar to many yet having a right to be its own.
I was hooked from the first listen. Imagine a crossover of Carcass and Dismember on one side and Shadows Fall and Beyond the Embrace on the other side. Non-stop buzzsaw guitar of the opener Rise above the Weak combined with harmonized solo and booming riffs, blistering thrash of Fleshwound with the mid-song breakdown and unexpected solo towards the end. What is not to like already? Before I can catch my breath a quick ripper The Scars that Remain follows with the excellent cymbal sound and gang vocals, only to finish me off with the anthemic fist-pumping Is This Life with its multiple tempo changes. The clean break and unbelievable doomsday bell sounds closing the song leave me speechless.
Beyond the Flesh has an innate ability to come up with riffs and melodies that cannot be pulled out of my brain unless a pair of pliers is applied (the main riff of Scattered Thoughts would be a good example). They can also change tempo on a dime or come up with complex compositions like the awesome title track closer where melodic thrash, syncopated heavy riffs, lead and acoustic outro all seem to be in their rightful place (if you have a little patience to wait a little more acoustic-solo playing appears after a pause). Beyond the Flesh is everything but static, changing shades faster than chameleon. At the same time, they are easy to get into right away, and easy to follow in their progressions.
Justin Leary’s vocals are snarly and reminded me of Carcass’ Jeff Walker. He also uses the low-end grunt quite often, and a few tracks have gang vocals on them. My only complaint is the word enunciation. When the lyrics are laden with message, like an anti-drug Is This Life, I would like to hear words pronounced more clearly. Rick Flanegan’s solo work is never over the top, except a slight dissonant lead at the end of Prophecies of the Dead. Rhythm section holds the whole structure together, either on technical death piece The Sick or fast thrasher Prophecies of the Dead, and cymbal work is one of the best in a long time. The production would be called stellar, if again, some of the vocal phrases would not fall out of the mix.
From the looks of the CD, you would not say this is not done by the major label. Professional booklet, photos, lyrics, and, again, very Carcass like cover art. From what I heard from Jay, Beyond the Flesh also made rounds appearing live at New Jersey Metalfest or opening up for many established bands (Arch Enemy, Nile, Opeth).
Whatever critical comments I made it is absolutely clear I loved the album, and if you long for the days of Carcass’ Heartwork, or call yourself a fan of Dismember, The Crown or The Haunted you can do absolutely no wrong in picking up What the Mind Perceives. When you are blown away, do not e-mail me your “thank you”, write to the band instead, the credit is all theirs.Beyond the Flesh, 35 Bittern Lane, Bayville, NJ 08721
Killing Songs :
Rise Above the Weak, Fleshwound, Is This Life, Scattered Thoughts, Prophecies of the Dead, What the Mind Perceives
|Alex quoted 87 / 100|
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