Review Summary: It took Beneath the Massacre only eight years to release a follow-up to Incongruous, and sixteen years to finally release a masterpiece.
Within the territories of technical death metal, there exists an unspoken, subconscious need of all bands to play faster and more technical than anybody else, similar to the obsession body builders have to keep getting bigger than yesterday and bigger than the guy next to them. The virus has made a sizable chunk of groups being almost unlistenable, because playing a million notes per heartbeat along with growls as “brutal” as possible, just for the sake of it, is pointless and does not worth anyone’s listening time.
Beneath the Massacre enjoyed popularity ten years ago with their first albums, and by the time their 2012 record Incongruous were to be released, they already were a major technical death metal / deathcore band. In 2020, it seems the band is in the best form they have ever been with Fearmonger, as they have fixed almost all weak spots around their already high-quality musical structures and ideas. The band shakes off the rust with a heavier record, having a nearly perfect flow and the tunes are overly improved compositionally, clocking up to the ideal amount of thirty minutes to be fully enjoyable but not tiresome.
The listener will be met by endless virtuosic guitar lines in complex rhythm sections from the very first moments of Fearmonger, significantly raising the levels of intensity with top-notch musicianship and creative accuracy. At the same time, tracks are well balanced, potent and do not spare any filler parts, offering a fine example of how technical death metal can be impressive and not a baffle in the head at the same time. Breakdowns, which were used a little bit too much and for no apparent reason in the past, are now masterfully placed only to release even more energy (“Treacherous” and “Flickering Light” are neat examples of this). Fearmonger also features an excellent, machine-like drumming performance that glorifies the powerful guitar melodies, which had me thinking of another monster of modern death metal, Hour of Penance’s Paradogma.
Among a swarm of brainless shredders, Beneath the Massacre teaches how to make a coherent and robust album with compositions which are not only perplexed but serve a purpose as well. The sequence of these tracks is just amazing, as Fearmonger is standing firmly on its feet with its head way above the rest of the field. You will find some of the highlights in the effects of “Autonomous Mind”, but also at the finishing track “Tarnished Legacy” which has what is probably one of the best guitar parts I have listened in death metal recently. This band had already made a name for themselves but it is now that they have actually reached magnificence with their work. Every aspect of the record, when it comes to the instrumentation, the vocals, the production, the place of each track, all work for the benefit of the whole result.
I believe Fearmonger might be a highlight for this year’s death metal and surely marks the band’s best material to date. There aren’t many technical or brutal death metal bands that can achieve this consistency in an album, and it seems like Beneath the Massacre wisely abandon just by a bit their deathcore elements, moving towards a better built sound. After listening to this record, you might find related artists redundant.