Beyond The Embrace - Insect Song
Metal Blade
Modern Heavy Metal
10 songs (43'22)
Release year: 2004
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Ben

Beyond the Embrace has been making a small name for themselves with their brand of US based ”In Flames” metal on their debut Against the Elements. Personally, I really enjoyed that album. Maybe if In Flames weren’t the horrible mallcore Hot Topic group that they are now I wouldn’t have liked it so much but man, it was a breath of fresh air to hear some good melodic death finally instead of the limp Reroute to Remain and now the even worse Soundtrack to Your Escape. Even Arch Enemy’s latest offering seemed tired and Figure Number Five is as bad if not worse than Reroute to Remain. Three of the biggest bands in their scene right there are now relegated to “Do you remember when they kicked ass… Yea those were the times,” status. So where do we turn to instead of listening to The Jester Race for the millionth time since it came out? Apparently a lot of heads have turned in the direction of Beyond the Embrace. But what is their new album like? Is it in the same vein as Against the Elements or have they too succumbed to the almighty dreadlocks and dollar?

Vocally things are a lot different this time around with the guys. There aren’t near as many harsh vocals as there were on the debut, instead Shawn sings in a “clean” voice but at the same time he still retains a lot of dirt in it. This clean voice is still very different than the other clean style he employed on Against the Elements, this time they seem a lot more accessible to fringe listeners than they were before. Even though I liked the previous style more I still find this one enjoyable as it doesn’t distract me too much. Besides, Shawn still sounds pissed off and doesn’t use the “Daddy hurt me” whine that Anders Jonathan Davis does so I’m grateful for that. The shining point on Insect Song is the same as it was on Against the Elements, the awesome guitar work. There are three guitarists, one rhythm, and two lead and they play off each other superbly, the melodies are rich and deep, and the hooks are catchy without being too sugary and annoying after repeated listens. On songs such as Reedemer and Plague the guitar solos remind me very much of Iron Maiden in terms of style and delivery, hell that intro solo to Reedemer is just a damn scorcher, plain and simple. Almost every song has a shining solo to make them that much better. There is one track that stands out though in its uniqueness, and that’s My Fall. It reminds me of a song off the abysmal Load record but without the suck factor in it. I know that that is a very odd and at first glance insulting comparison but yet I still get that vibe from the track. When I hear Shawn start to sing I can’t help but get James Hetfield in my head, but before I begin to grimace, I push that disturbing image out of my mind and realize that these guys aren’t corporate lackeys and are instead Beyond the Embrace. At the same time however, with its commerciality I can see this snaring some people that normally would not listen to a group such as this.

From top to bottom I can say that Insect Song is an enjoyable disc, there are plenty of great solos and melodies mixed in with aggression and speed. I call this Modern Heavy Metal because unlike many Power Metal groups coming out now or the rash of “Gothenburg clone circa 1995 number 872” this has a distinctly modern feel to it, other than the great solos, (and really now when has a killer traditional guitar solo not reminded you of the eighties?) this sounds like it was recorded in 2004. Even though I still find Against the Elements to be the superior outing I can safely recommend this one to their fans as well as someone who wants to hear some good quality heavy metal again from someone influenced by the Swedish Melodic Death style.

Killing Songs :
Plague, Reedemer, Fleshengine Breakdown, Within
Ben quoted 74 / 100
Alex quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Beyond The Embrace that we have reviewed:
Beyond The Embrace - Against The Elements reviewed by Danny and quoted 80 / 100
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