Review Summary: Devoid of trend
Listening to metal for as long as I have has its proven merits. I’ve been through enough up and downs within the genre to make your head spin and while I don’t care to indulge deeply on this matter, it’s brought me to think of how metal has evolved to the point it’s at today. Firstly, there comes a point in time where a band breaks down a barrier and a whole *** load of bands follow suit. Then comes stagnation while a whole slew of bands toil in the underground with their middle-finger raised high against the current trend and.......BAM! out pops a new hybrid of what was cool in the yester-year followed by another slew of bands to follow suit - kind of like progression through reverse progression if you get my drift. In order to move forward, we must take a few steps backwards and place a concrete form on what’s existing today. And then there’s sometimes where a band breaks the mold of this trend and says, “*** you, I’m going to play what I want”. Cue in unique bands that simply don’t care what sub-sub-sub-sub genre of death metal/ black metal are playing at whatever time-signature under whatever production value and touring with whatever band is sheep-herding. The Austerity Program should be coming to mind at this point in time and if haven’t heard of them yet, I suggest you stop trying to keep up with the mess of new talentless *** who think they’re onto something huge or nostalgically invigorating. While not straying far from their previous albums, Beyond Calculation
is a sharp focus on past efforts that finds the band at the peak of their art.
The Austerity Program have been around for a while now producing only one L.P. (2007s Black Madonna
) and one of my favourite E.P.’s ever (2010s Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn
). The duo and their drum machine - comprised of Thad Calabrese on bass and Justin Foley on vocals/ guitar – crisply lay out energetic tunes that don’t exactly revert back to a time of nostalgic glory or build upon a new/ old sound. Rather the duo have found some middle ground with their awesomely incorporated drum machine and have built a sound that’s as catchy as it is hypnotically moving. And no, they’re not some underground movement trying to play some form of elitist yester-year metal either. Instead, Calabrese and Foley dual back and forth using a minimal form of slightly melodic, angular binary guitar notes and hypnotic drum patterns while taking a nibble at post-punk, noise rock, and do I dare say....pop music leanings. Top it off with Foley’s incredible vocal delivery and often well-penned lyrics such as being pushed around by cyberbullies (listen to 'Song 30' and you will know). The intensity that these guys bring to the songs will only make your heart race fast as the up-and-down dynamics will nail to you to the back of your headphones and not let you go until the next song kicks in.
One listen to Beyond Calculation
and you will know these guys are their own entity riding in a vast wasteland of copycats and genre-humping metal antics. Calambrese and Foley fall into the category of “*** you, I’m going to play what I want”, not really relying on any popular genre to boost their bio but rather through the sheer interest in making music they love and making it heard loud and clear. You hear this through their simple - and yet complicated take on.....wait, going to take a stab at this....industrialized post-punk pop music?.....that sucks......everything I love about heavy music; catchy, noisy, unique and makes me want to move.