Review Summary: Mes félicitations, messieurs.
Among the new wave of North American tech death, the sensational Québecois outfit Beyond Creation has definitely stood out since day one - not only was their debut The Aura almost universally acclaimed, but their fanbase expanded meteorically to an extent almost unheard of with bands playing such a radio-unfriendly genre. And for good reason - while the album was quite uniform in style and relied heavily on minor chords and progressions, the execution was just good enough to make it a great listen.
And now they're back with their sophomore effort, Earthborn Evolution
, managing to address the uniformity complaint, for one thing. This time around more melodic styles and progressions were experimented with, while song structures were made simpler and more predictable, which resulted in a considerable shift towards melodic death metal (though not quite to the extent of Obscura, to whom Beyond Creation has been compared on more than one occasion). The chaotic meter and tempo shifts of The Aura
have given way to a more concentrated approach to songwriting, creating songs that are easier to digest but every bit as, if nor more enjoyable than those from the debut. Probably the best example of this focused approach is the fantastic title track, Earthborn Evolution
, basically written around two riffs, though full of tasteful transitions, subtlety, attention to detail and artfulness. The go-to instrumental track, Abstrait Dialog
is quite unlike The Aura's Chromatic Horizon
, being much more mellow and diverse, shifting between moods like teenage pop stars with histrionic personality disorder shift between outfits. The sentiment can be extended to the entire album - Beyond Creation have this time around gotten in touch with their non-metal influences considerably more than last time, making the album a fruitful exercise in subtlety - the jazzy ending section of Theatrical Delirium
, for one thing, can be taken as palpable proof of that.
As for probably the biggest point of interest - the bass - Mr. Lapointe does not disappoint in the slightest this time either. Better even, special care was taken with the production this time around so that the bass is perfectly audible, but not overbearing - a great highlight of his bass work is the track L'exorde
, he really goes crazy there. To be fair though, such moments of unrestrained bass wankery are relatively sparse throughout this album compared to The Aura
, for the good or the bad, it's your call. It does equalize the contribution from all the players and makes the songs feel more like a team effort, though. Another slight point of interest: Simon Girard's inhaled vocals have been all but cut - though I hate pig squeals with a passion, his enunciated inhales actually contributed quite considerably to the vocal diversity in a good way, so this is a bit of a loss. Beyond Creation is not a vocal-oriented band by any means, though, so this flaw is relatively minor.
What is slightly less minor in my opinion, is the lack of that one long, amazing track that The Aura
had in its closer, The Deported
. While this album's Fundamental Process
is a great song in its own right, it lacks that powerful, extended outro with tension buildups and releases to make a powerful closing statement for the album. This time around things are rather stagnant towards the end instead, though the final bits are quite satisfying.
Overall, fans of The Aura
should not be by any means disappointed. This album is of comparable quality in all respects, even better in some, and should be treated as a continuation - there are even lyrical cross-references to the debut to remind you of that. Beyond Creation are as strong as ever and it doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon. Mes félicitations, messieurs.