Review Summary: Save your breath for the full length.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Beyond The Shore have existed somewhat enigmatically in the metalcore scene, along with many other young contenders struggling against the rising tide of there simply being too many bands of that genre. Thus, the high quality bands are inevitably diluted due to the anonymous nature they are unfortunately marked with whilst drifting in a sea of breakdowns and melodic vocals and screaming. I was fortunate enough to plunge into the icy cold waters of The Arctic Front when I was at a point of such distance from understanding music based on other factors than simply the artwork. However, at the time, it looked nice; so I downloaded it from iTunes and hit the play button. I discovered that under the surface of what would appear to be a watery release - there are some significant and promising moments, gems that make The Arctic Front a marked metalcore EP.
Alright, I'll stop with the water references. But what I said still stands. Whilst there isn't a great deal to massively set BTS apart from their competitors, and some influences being impossible to not notice; they put in a good effort.
Let's talk guitar. For the most part, expect your standard Parkway Drive style tremolo riffs sandwiched in between less common chugging sections. This is a positive, however. Occasionally these riffs result in nice bases for the harsh vocals to roar over, along with the drummer who is enabled to show off his skill a bit more. This works well in 'Order Of Oceans', preceding a nicely timed breakdown and melodic guitar section (fear not, this is the only time that BTS resort to this cliché). My favourite moment on this EP falls to either the incredibly atmospheric intro 'Descendants' or the finale of 'The Arctic Front'; featuring some fantastic tapping that culminates in a very immersive finish to the song. The breakdowns are also a thing to take note of. Whilst BTS unfortunately suffer Irritable Metalcore Syndrome, forced to use breakdowns in space of what could otherwise be a chance to diversify their sound - when you finally get to the core of this metal pie; you can find some memorable moments (if you see what I did there). For instance, the final breakdown in 'Thrown To The Sharks' implements a nice build-up through the only real effective use of melodic vocals in the EP before crashing down with the weight of an ocean. Likewise, the chant of 'OUR DREAMS ARE UNBREAKABLE.' in 'Order Of Oceans' is also particularly satisfying.
Unfortunately, an issue that Beyond The Shore fail to address is following up to these great moments. Drums appear eternally locked into a double-bass gallop that only slows in tempo when the rest of the band decide to throw in a breakdown. Chords are practically totally absent until a melodic vocal chorus in 'The Higher', the weakest song on the EP. Even the breakdown in 'Order Of Oceans', one of the strongest moments on the EP; is let down by being followed by what sounds like the riff that preceded it lowered an octave. If BTS were to diversify and let a bit more variety into their music, there would inevitably be a set of songs that remained prominent throughout. However, this is not the case for all songs; moments rather than entire songs work their best.
As aforementioned, the drumming is a reasonably capable companion to the guitar, largely driving the songs. But outside of the typical double bass galloping and breakdown bonanzas - he proves himself a competent member of the band. Utilising blast beats and snare blasts effectively in songs 'Shotgun Sunrise' & 'Thrown To The Sharks' to build tension. But he is limited outside of the few opportunities he has to merely follow the guitar. The consequence of this method of song writing is clear. Vocals, I'm not entire sure about. He employs a reasonably confident growling technique. However, he also suffers at times through using evidently all too little technique; making his growls appear a slight distortion technique above speaking or singing. He remains capable of creating long and strong growls in songs 'Thrown To The Sharks' and 'The Arctic Front' though, giving credit to his skill on a whole. Contrasting this, clean vocals make appearances in the songs 'The Higher' (as a chorus) and 'Thrown To The Sharks' (as a bridge). Whilst they aren't the nicest or most appealing of vocals, they put some of the best lyrics of the EP to work, e.g: 'Enter the realm of the sea, Thy glass casket forever shattered it shall be. Bound by grace our anchor claims the deep.' The lyrical effort on here is very promising for metalcore band of this calibre, typically found to be singing songs about DESTINY and BEING ALONE and LOOKING BEYOND THE HORIZON TO UNKNOWN SHORES. But still, the vocalist pushes to dissuade the listener that this curse on the genre effects the band.
I don't know where the bass is. Don't ask me. As there's not even a slight inkling at its presence from the music, I wouldn't even expect the band to have had a bassist at the time of recording The Arctic Front. Putting this to one side, however, taking the music for what it's worth; there is a nice set of songs that have their moments and show promise from this band. While they've set themselves apart with their début release, the only question now is whether or not they'll relapse into Irritable Metalcore Syndrome or continue carving their own path into the metalcore genre.