Review Summary: A Diamond in the rough
I was rather sceptical when a friend told me to check this band out. Being a small time deathcore band from Canberra, Australia, I thought that this would likely be just another junztastic deathcore debut.
However I was indeed very wrong.
A New Beginning is a diamond in the rough. It is hard to count the amount of times a new young deathcore band has sprung up out of nowhere, only to deliver an album we’ve all heard 1000 times before. This albums demonstrates the potential that deathcore has in the hands of a talented and mature band, and sticks it’s middle finger to the Suicide Silence clones and All Shall Perish wannabees in the process.
The musical style contained within this album is one that quite unique within the deathcore genre. Rather than draw on chugs or modern deathmetal riffing as their main influence, Beneath the Tides have opted for the old school melodeath style to be the foundation of their sound. Deathcore bands have indeed tried this before (particularly As Blood Runs Black), yet the result has almost invariably been very lacklustre; with the riffs being cheesy and over melodic and only seeming like they’re there to fill the space between the breakdowns. Beneath the Tides are the only deathcore band that I am aware of that has genuinely been able to capture not only the sound of the Gothenburg style, but also the feel. There is a constant old school metal vibe about this record despite the core influences (see 1:10 into “Seduction of flesh”). This is something that is seldom seen in many modern metal records, let alone deathcore. The fact that this band relies on a solid metal base as their foundation, and then adds some metal/hardcore influences allows them to avoid the vast majority of negative tendencies and genre limitations of your typical deathcore outfit. This can best be explained by the fact that this genuinely sounds like a metal record that has some hardcore influences (e.g Animosity, The Red Chord, Glass Casket), rather than sounding like straight up deathcore (Oceano, Suicide Silence et al.)
For all the praise I have given this band for not being a typical generic deathcore band, there are still downsides. Some of the riffs are strongly influenced by At the Gates, and some of the lyrics are typical deathcore fare (“I’ll cut you up just to keep your ***ing mouth shut!”) and when breakdowns are used, perhaps a third have a tendency to be quite boring and generic. However the rarity in which those breakdowns occur almost makes it a non-issue when looking at the album as a whole, especially considering that the other 2/3 of the breakdowns mostly compliment the songs quite well (2:24 into “Swan or Siren”). These downsides are not enough to seriously detract from an otherwise excellent record. As stated the riffs can be AtG worship, but not simple rip-offs and whilst the lyrics can be childish, it is fairly sporadic and can be easily overlooked.
The vocalist is shows a very solid and respectable performance. Apart from the aforementioned sporadic immature lyrics, his delivery contains very good range and power. There are many instances of vocal layering however, yet you don’t get the feel the layering is there to cover up vocal weaknesses (Oli Sykes in Count Your Blessings, Mitch Lucker in everything). He does not partake in inhales, brees or sound like his vocals were more over-produced than a recent Linkin Park record. Overall very good.
The drummer is another standout on this album. Not because he shows incredible blasts or insane double base (blasts and fast double bass are virtually nonexistent on “A New Beginning”), but because he avoids the typical extreme metal drumming style in favour attempting to be more rhythmic in his delivery trying to vary up his style to best compliment the equally varying pace of the songs. A good example of this is 1:25 into “No Penny for Pestilence”, where the beat is rather simple, but compliments the passage very well.
Overall, this is an incredibly mature deathcore debut. It does a great job of not succumbing to the generic tendencies and uninspired junk spewed forth by so many. Whilst not perfect, that is certainly forgivable considering the fact that this is a debut. This album is certainly worth picking up if you are a deathcore fan, or indeed have any deathcore inclinations at all, and could very well appeal to meodeath fans as well.