Beneath – Ephemeris

No bullshit, brutal death metal. Done. Now go buy it. With that, this review could be over. Beneath, somewhat unexpectedly hailing from Reykjavik, Iceland, play as pure brutal death as is conceivable. Listing references seems useless, though Suffocation, Devourment and actually also Immolation would inevitably come up. This is, of course, not to be seen as any kind of negative criticism. Much like true black metal, real brutal death metal needs absolutely no extras and bonuses to be spectacular. Also, describing Beneath as 100% generic is more of an introductory vehicle for this review than absolutely true.

There are in fact quite a few bits and pieces that are not straight out the BDM playbook on this the third album from Beneath. The ending passage of opening track “Constellational Transformation” sounds like one of the more dreamy parts off of Edge of Sanity’s The Spectral Sorrows. The following track “Eyecatcher” has a solo that sounds more like old school death metal – and another soft end, once again recalling Dan Swanö’s seminal prog-death project. The title track would be the ultimate Monster Trucking song, if any of our readers are into such trucking (God, I hope so). Heavy, slow and violent – all at once. The closing song “Multiangular” has clear tendencies towards tech-death, and in “Medium Obscurum” I’m not sure what’s going on. Is that some kind of chainsaw butchered black metal riff? What’s happening to that introductory vehicle? No matter, this is awesome.

Another thing that sets Beneath apart from many of their genre-mates are the song titles and the one lyric I got a hold of. While clearly in the death metal vein, there is little or perhaps none of the blood, guts and peculiar intercourse of your average brutal death metal poetry. A halo of a vaguely Sci-Fi/Cosmic Horror type surrounds titles like “Cities of the Outer Reaches” and “Amorphous Globe”. There’s more than a hint of surrealism too in lines like “Of two eyed moons that orbit nothing/They follow the falsified backward – step of motion”. Good stuff, and it does add a little edge to the whole.

Ephemeris is an extraordinary piece of music, which shows that neither stagnation nor experimentation can really put a dent in the life span of brutal death metal, as long as the vocals are deep and growling as all hell and you keep your complex riffing straight-forward. It is released on August 18th, but already available for pre-order on CD, T-shirt, vinyl and digital from Unique Leader.


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