Saturday, January 14, 2012

Beyond Creation - The Aura

Technical death metal: a polarizing genre that will often devolve into a jazz vs. classical debate, or people bitching about how lame the production is. I might be part of the latter most of the time, but Beyond Creation's debut The Aura is (was) certain to spark debates over the former. Essentially being a technical death metal showcase, it features elements of both neoclassical and jazz music, seamlessly combining the two to create a very rewarding listening experience.

There has to be something in Canada's water supply that causes children to grow up as musical virtuosos. Quebec is known for housing technical titans Gorguts as well as other big names like Quo Vadis, Augury, and now Beyond Creation. The Aura features a ton of melodious, apreggio-based riffing and progressive basslines thanks to Dominic Lapointe's use of a fretless. There are a few times where the riffs on The Aura sound a bit too much like something out of Muhammed Suiçmez' playbook, but for the most part that's the appeal. Virtuosic and semi-indulgent, it's tough to say no to these hooks.

That's not to say there isn't any real heaviness on here either, although a light bass tone and neoclassical riffing might dissuade certain listeners. Tracks like "No Request for the Corrupted" feature chugging low passages, and the superlative "Omnipresent Perception" features a brutal death metal influenced breakdown. Most of the tracks on here are also filled to the brim with hooks and catchy fills that had me coming back for more. "Social Disability" features some great and fluid time signature changes and  "Coexistence" sports what could be classified as one of the more simpler hooks on the album, being primarily melodic death metal influenced. That's not to say it's bad or dumbed down either, as the song for the most part holds up well save for the needless breakdown. The title track is solid as well with it's great basslines. In fact I'd have to say the bass is by and far the highlight instrument if there was one on this very composed album. The bass solo on the aforementioned "Omnipresent Perception" is fantastic, and it comes as no surprise that Lapointe is one of the best bassists to come out of the Quebec technical death scene.

And now to the part you saw coming: the production. I'm not sure how I feel about it. It fits the album well and allows the listener to audibly discern every instrument at pretty much every part, but I'm not too keen on the lack of bass again. The high tone of the fretless removes the need for it, but I can only imagine how much more awesome this album would be with some thick, gain-ridden sound to it. It's a minor complaint compared to the obvious sound similarities to German bands Necrophagist and Obscura, but otherwise The Aura is an absolutely stunning debut.

8.25 out of 10


1. No Request for the Corrupted

2. Coexistence

3. Chromatic Horizon

4. Omnipresent Perception

5. Injustice Revealed

6. Le Détenteur

7. The Aura

8. Social Disability

9. Elevation Path

10. The Deported

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