Monday, February 8, 2010

Beyond Mind - The Wrath Of The Dead Tongue

"The Wrath Of The Dead Tongue," is Beyond Mind's first release and hopefully not their last. Their sharp and decisive brand of black metal is both intriguing and rewarding. Naberius' vocal attack could be likened to watching Lord Of The Rings' Gollum talking through a distortion pedal while being sodomized by Sauron's minions. Definitely the more outrageous vocal style I've heard and easily one of the most unique. Beyond Mind isn't content to simply recite old formulas elsewhere and rely on vocal ingenuity to push them through. Musically, Beyond Mind is keen to mix and mash black metal into a cosmic mess. The spacey sound to their tracks can be heard in the use of some background effects on track such as "The Spiral of Withering."

While entirely unique, a band comparable in some way would be Choronzon (Thanks Andrew) on their Magog Agog disc. Both Beyond Mind and Choronzon have a splattering of rocket propellant energy though constant flames flicker persistently deep within the engines of their blackened releases. Beyond Mind show this best on "Children Of Ashes," the first real track on the disc. And while Choronzon's Magog Agog is pretty weird in a Devin-Townsend-(more)on-crack-and-with-hair mentality, Beyond Mind come close as well. One listen through the second half of Beyond Mind's "The Spiral Of Withering," will provide adequate evidence to support this and also display some area which Beyond Mind still need to improve on. Aside from relegating what were odd but bearable vocals to a parody of themselves, the gimmicky attempt to recreate the "this is what it sounds like when someone is withering away" concept is just slightly too theatrical and a bit outright for my tastes.

Musically, fourth track (third real track), "Caressed By Cold" is my favorite track on the disc though "Children of Ashes" also tickles my tender spot. "Caressed..." combines elements of doom's penchant for down-tempo mass and depressive black metal melodies a la Benighted in Sodom. Plodding, awkward and dissonant at times, it is a perfect track for Beyond Mind to tackle. Even though the vocals on this track are also outlandish and theatrical, I'm not laughing like three-quarters of the way through "The Spiral Of Withering." Still, Naberius could reign them in a bit without losing their intensity or giving up their personality. On this track, as elsewhere, Gerdon's bass playing is sheepish, rarely leaving the flock lead by the guitars.

The drums seem to be programmed but they could be real also - it's so difficult to tell these days on well produced releases - so no complaints there. If they are programmed, I would still suggest finding a session drummer in the future; they often sound mechanical. It would also offer more options to make the music of Beyond Mind even more strange. Some songs on the release did drag on a bit including my personal favorite "Caressed By Cold" and the intro track, "Decent," which was long. I am still torn between considering it a full fledged song or not. Beyond Mind have done well with the release's production combining rusty guitars, deep but clanging bass, clean guitars and everything between. Should Beyond Mind control some of the rather comedic vocals and cut back the songs to a length less repetitive and more natural in flow, future releases may yield some true black gems.

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