Review Summary: By far the most accomplished of Incubus's (opprobrium) works, it perfectly combines brutality with mature songwriting and a professional production. One of the best albums of the early 90's I highly recommend this to anyone who likes early death metal.
Now known as Opprobrium, Incubus, hailing from Rio de Janeiro Brazil, were true innovators in the early death metal scene on the late 80s/early 90s. It is a shame they hardly get any credit for their contributions. After releasing their fine debut, which could be the most extreme in the genre, Incubus went through a major stylistic change in terms of direction. Something happed to the band between 1988 and 1990 that would forever change the band. In my opinion, it was the departure of the original vocalist, Scott Latour, which gave Francis M. Howard an opportunity to lead the band in a much more complex direction. Whether this was for better or for worse, the result was a truly awesome achievement for both the band, and death metal album known as beyond the unknown.
To say that some improvement had occurred would be a huge understatement, as every aspect from production values, so song arrangement, and musicianship had improved tenfold. No longer does the material have a "garage demo" sound quality like on Serpent Temptation. Morrisound really did a great job on this one. The drums are easily audible with their crisp clear sound. And the guitar sound (and guitar tone in particular,) has greatly improved.
In terms of songwriting, this is the best the band had put fourth so far, with numerous time signature changes, giving the album and almost progressive nature, but it's still also very brutal and straight forward in some section's recalling the Sadus debut as it's best. Apart from the numerous technical passages throughout the album, the solos also add a distinct and chaotic feel to the music, now done with much more sophistication than on the previous album. Take for instance, the hectic and yet well written solo on Certain Accuracy, sounding like a much more, shall we say professional version of Kerry King. Guitarist Francis M. Howard really shreds on this one. In addition, he also play all the bass tracts on the album, proving just how diverse and talented of a musician Francis is.
Drummer Moyses M. Howard has also developed more, and play with much more deliberate and tight thrash beats. While his thrash beats aren't nearly as fast as on Serpent Temptation, they are equally compelling and are dong with more variation and technique, than before, in many ways similar to Pete "Commando" Sandoval's performance on the slower sections of blessed are the sick. The usage of double bass in more prevalent as well.
Bar far the most advanced Incubus release upon the time's of it's release, it was, and still is a true classic of early Death Metal, and one of the first technical death metal albums. Incubus could have definitely owned the 90's death metal scene if they would have continued to release albums. Sadly, Beyond the Unknown would be their last project for quite some time, as the mainstream band of the same name would gain considerable popularity, forcing the band off the scene, and into hiatus for years. Regardless, it must be know that this is the original Incubus, and their contributions death metal are to great to ignore.
Orginally written by me on Encyclopedia metallum.