Beneath the Massacre
Fearmonger


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jacquibim STAFF
March 17th, 2020 | 23 replies


Release Date: 02/28/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shreds.

I’ll spare you the usual diatribe on the current state of tech-death, all while insisting that the object of my adoration is in some way different. The fact is despite the wankers who make up the doldrums of the genre, there is now an armada of wildly creative tech-death bands, whose musical chops belie their ample songwriting skills despite everything we’re told to the contrary. In any exchange about bands embodying this trait, Beneath The Massacre were never among those first mentioned; but Fearmonger, their latest full-length, feels like a coming-of-age. It’s simultaneously their most extreme album, while also their most coherent by a mile. Seldom have I heard an album this rapid-fire – squeezing a journeyman’s catalogue worth of notes into twenty-nine minutes – yet have each track distinguish itself from the last in the very first sitting. That isn’t just impressive, that’s a feat of songwriting from the least likely of origins.

Time is of the essence and Beneath The Massacre waste little of it. Opener “Rise of The Fearmonger” inundates you with heavily syncopated grooves, 16th note tremolo picking, string skips, arpeggios and two-handed tapping aplenty, executed at a pace and with such dexterity as to leave eyes widened and jaws slackened. A qualm can be had with the synthetic timbres of the drums, but given the band’s history, there are firm reassurances that what you’re hearing can be done live. What strikes me the most is the fluidity of everything: would-be-ostentatious techniques have been woven into the fabric of the songs, as opposed to the more segmented chugga-dweedle-chug of the band’s earlier work. This presents them with quite a challenge, in that songs can paradoxically sound the same when every couple of bars are so radically different from the last. Beneath The Massacre are conscious of this, punctuating even their most haywire tracks like “Hidden in Plain Sight” with short, sharp phrases that appear at all the right times – an approach echoed even in the sequencing the tracks themselves.

“Autonomous Mind” is the centrepiece in a medley of more staccato songs – something of a reprieve from what surrounds them, ridiculous as that may sound. Here, Beneath The Massacre bring some welcomed aesthetic diversity, turning down the wick in favour of eerie, stop-start leads with an endearing, sci-fi cadence to them. Upon closing out with some “How Soon Is Now?”-like pedal(?) trickery, the song alludes to prior tracks with glimpses of the same effect, while also priming you for album’s remainder. It’s a curve-ball that feels thematically appropriate, with the alien, ear-worm leads taking on other forms in “Bottom Feeders”. It shows how context can alter the perception of a motif, casting an otherwise glitzy lead as a menacing portent of things to come. As Fearmonger ends just as it began – wreaking bedlam in which time signatures can be even a keen listener’s best guess – I’m neither exhausted, nor bewildered; I’m simply intrigued as to how this album subverted my expectations to the degree it did. One listen directly preceded another, then another and so on, allaying any concerns I had about fatigue, but more importantly, shedding light on Beneath The Massacre’s attention to detail.

Dismissing an album like Fearmonger as “mindless” based on presentation alone smacks of shortsightedness. These bold technical forays that make living fossils grimace are driven by the same mentality that gave us albums like The Sound of Perseverance, Epitaph and Incurso: a desire to cast aside stylistic restraints, upping the ante within a genre both lauded and loathed for its intensity. I’m not going to pretend that Fearmonger will have such an impact, but it’s admirable that Beneath The Massacre are still pushing the bounds of what they’re capable of, given how high the bar has been raised thanks in no small part to themselves. To attempt at lifting it any further warrants at least a modicum of respect, but to go about it with such clarity of vision is borderline Herculean.



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3.7
great
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2020


3715 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Henlo frens



Birb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utDhNcdd9D0

Digging: Ulcerate - Stare Into Death and Be Still

SteakByrnes
March 17th 2020


17677 Comments


Jac! Hi!

Digging: Invent Animate - Greyview

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
March 17th 2020


3715 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sup Steak how you been?

SteakByrnes
March 17th 2020


17677 Comments


I've been well! Hope you're doing well :] Good to see you back

Napes
March 17th 2020


18 Comments


I remember seeing these guys 10+ years ago and can't deny the talent or musicianship even if it's not really my thing. Still, what stuck with me was a "breakdown'' in one of the songs where the long pauses let us to hear the smacks and dull thuds from the people in the mosh pit as they ran into each other. Sounds dumb but it put me and my buddies in stitches.

These guys are essentially local for me so it's cool to have seen them get some traction and to see them keep going.

AsleepInTheBack
March 17th 2020


6148 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

gud rev gud album

brainmelter
March 17th 2020


6902 Comments


welcome back

Digging: Balam Acab - See Birds

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2020


11906 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First review in how many months and your summary is "shreds"? I had my thesaurus out and everything...



Fearmonger however is quite a decent jam. Mind pos'd.

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2020


22471 Comments


wtf is happening hi fren nice review, re-subscribed

Digging: Bambara - Stray

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2020


3715 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank y'all, it's good to be back.

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2020


3715 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2020


18912 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

About time you showed up.



Please proceed to the March Madness thread Mr. Jacquibim.

Digging: Old Man Gloom - Seminar IX: Darkness of Being

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2020


18912 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Actually, nvmnd, you lost to theSpaceman in the last round.

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2020


3715 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm cool with that



Could've lost to SeaEric or something

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2020


18912 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah man, u lost to a real one.



Glad to see u writing again dude. Hope all's fine.

CookieFactory79
March 18th 2020


126 Comments


"honestly, the only metal staffers this site needs are spirit and willie"
um 2 to many ur move sack

DeadBitchAlexis
March 18th 2020


3063 Comments


so in actuality these guys learned to stop being a shit band?

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2020


3715 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'd say they came good on Maree Noire but yeah this is leaps and bounds better than their 2000s stuff

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 18th 2020


10467 Comments


Yeah everyone has said it, but good review and good to see you back.

Jac 4.0s usually indicate quality. Keeping this in mind for whenever I get current.

Digging: Omega Infinity - Solar Spectre

trilo
March 18th 2020


3123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ayyy jacquibibim back nice rev m/



album is a lot of fun

Digging: Afterbirth - Four Dimensional Flesh



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