Beyond Creation - Earthborn Evolution
Season Of Mist
Technical Death Metal
10 songs (46:23)
Release year: 2014
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

It's hard to keep track of tech-death bands nowadays, not least for their strange knack of having similar-sounding names on top of sounding quite a lot alike. Yet Canada's Beyond Creation have enough songwriting skill and a different enough sound to mean that the pick-two-random-words-out-of-a-dictionary forgettableness of their name can be ignored. Mixing their clearly very talented instrumental chops with a taste for melody as well as a progressive death metal inclination, Beyond Creation have made a very good second album here, if not quite one that deserves to, as the promotional material puts it, 'catapults the Canadians into the top league of their genre, right among such giants as Atheist, Death or early Cynic.'

Sure, being fair to the band they have moments that are reminiscent of that holy trio. Earthborn Evolution is at its best when being most melodic and least typically tech-death – barrages of thrashy riffs designed to show off, like those that dominate the opening songs, will not earn you a place among the highest, but moments like the standout title track may well do. It's oddly beautiful, opening with jazzy bass twangs and building up as a piece of music rather than a metal 'track', each instrument played technically and skilfully but with the four members coming together to form a unity rather than existing separately. As you'd expect, guitarists Simon Girard and Kévin Chartré take the lead in terms of melody, but it's impossible to ignore the real contribution that the other instruments make in the near-virtuoso hands of vocalist/bassist Dominic Lapointe (also of Augury) and drummer Philippe Bouchere. It builds, and then the album moves on taking you with it, for the first time genuinely interesting after the opening two songs.

And that's where the problems really start. If there's a single fault with Earthborn Evolution the album, it's that the songs have little to do with each other and listening to the whole is an experience in the parts being greater than the sum. Although casual tracks like Sous la lueur de l'empereur blast along agreeably enough and are never actually anything near badly written or played, they feel like stopgaps between better moments, almost filler, thanks to a lack of effort in creating an album rather than a collection of songs. Beyond Creation undoubtedly have talent in spades, the problem comes with putting this talent into creating a cohesive album. The aforementioned stellar title track leads directly into The Great Revelation, faster yet no less melodic, and then into Neurotical Transmissions and Abstrait Dialog, two of the slowest and most Cynic-al tracks present – good, but feeling more like a best-of collection than a united whole.

Fortunately, the album gets back on track towards the end, the album ending with a pair of longer tracks in the six-minute Theatrical Delirium and the seven-minute Fundamental Process that take a more prog metal approach to the tech death formula, sounding fresh and interesting, and contrasting hugely with more typical tracks elsewhere. This is especially true of the latter, which opens with a near-orchestral hum, and goes on to sound much more like what I'd have liked the album to be – melodic, but riff-driven and undoubtedly death metal; progressive in style yet with technical chops and structure. An interesting and enjoyable album, then, that will please tech-deathers a lot, but mostly an album that suggests greater things to come for Beyond Creation.

Killing Songs :
Earthborn Evolution, Theatrical Delirium, Fundamental Process
Goat quoted 80 / 100
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