Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Beyond - Fatal Power of Death

Earlier this year I went down to the Florida Keys for my cousin's wedding. On the plane ride there I watch From Beyond and on the way home I watched The Beyond. My reaction to Beyond's brand new and debut full length was the same as the overweight elderly Asian woman sitting next to me who happened to watch my screen at the exact moment in The Beyond when the dead bearded man in the tub slams the housekeeper's face through the spike on the wall, leaving her eyeball dangling out of the socket. My emotions upon hearing the sonic blasts, pummeling destruction and outright creepiness of Beyond's "Fatal Power of Death," easily a top-ten album for 2013. Equal parts Morbid Angel's "Covenant," Entombed's "Left Hand Path," and the weirdness of At The Gates' "Red In The Sky Is Ours," and the demented energy of Asphyx's "The Rack" there are still elements left untouched. A sense of escalation in every song makes the album enjoyable from start to finish. The dirt from their demo "Relentless Abomination Vortex" carried over to "Enter Transcendence" on which Beyond solidified the wild, reckless hammer-bashing style they've perfected on "Fatal Power of Death."

After a tense intro, "Expressions of Invincibility" starts the album in memorable fashion with pummeling drums, vicious speed and little let up. The album for me really hits it's stride with a new version of "Whirlwinds of Chaotic Carnage." The revamped production aids the song in expressing the more subtle parts that were lost on the demo version and changes to the ending of the song create one of the most memorably uncomfortable harmonizations in death metal. Breakdowns turn into frivolously morbid phrasings. The title track has a more forward and simple vibe, opting to blast out progressions instead of twist and turn but the crushing convulsions return with "Schizopsychotic Eruption." Think of Malmsteen playing "Night on Bald Mountain" through four HM2s connected in a linear pattern to a backing band of Bolt Thrower playing Realm of Chaos. "Definite Decease (In The Chamber of Deathsalvation)" is a more mid tempo bludgeoning device and finishes with what may have been an impromptu guitar lead section. "Appearance From Beyond" once again wanders into bizarre territory with shrill screams and torturous moans over atonal repetitive rhythms. "Consuming Black Void," a twelve minute monstrosity ends "Fatal Power of Death" in grand form. Huge riffs, massive rhythms, great melodic overtones and a continuance of the crazed lunacy of Beyond.

What's so great about this release is that it shows that bands can still be unique, still sound traditionally old school and yet bring to the table a lot of new energy lost in so many bands who have overstayed their welcome, who can't live up to their name or who simply waste everyone's time and money putting out mediocre albums. Beyond fester above it all. They've done so with their demo, their 7" and now their debut easily ranks high and mighty on the death metal must-have lists for the past few years. I think the last purely old school Death Metal album that had an impact on me like this, which I refused to stop listening to was Deathevokation's "The Chalice of Ages." 

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