Thursday, April 5, 2012

Beyond Terror Beyond Grace - Nadir

I can see that being a really cheesily-titled DVD for Beyond Terror Beyond Grace, that is if they stick with their new style. For those of you who don't know, Beyond Terror Beyond Grace was a deathgrind outfit from Australia. They had a pretty straightforward style up until the new release, Nadir, which found them experimenting with a post/black metal sound not unlike Altar Of Plagues, but with a more militant approach to rhythm.

I saw the teaser trailer for Nadir awhile ago and was pretty stoked for this release just to see where Beyond Terror Beyond Grace would take their sound. They did a good job of taking it out back, chopping its head off, and letting it flail around wildly - that's where they got the drum tracking after all. For the most part the snare rolls and fills sound absolutely great and fit the droning, atmospheric style of the music quite well. In their dying gasp, the remains of Beyond Terror Beyond Grace's sound prove to be effective on the new release.

Now before I continue, let me clarify in an aside: I did like Beyond Terror Beyond Grace's old deathgrind material. It was predictable, aggro, and significantly more brutal than this. I'm not opposed to change and as bands grow and mature as musicians, it's only appropriate that the music they play grow to match their skill. You saw it with Napalm Death and numerous other grindcore-turned-death metal acts. Now you're seeing it from the perspective of a deathgrind turned post black metal band. So if you don't like black metal in general, you will not like this release.

Musically, Nadir follows typical conventions for post black metal. Strong, growing song structures, powerful sustained notes, and a dark aesthetic are all elements of the album. The vocals are mixed low and occasionally distorted, often serving as a backdrop for the sustained melodies and drums. Nadir is an album you really have to hear to understand. It works as a cohesive piece of music as opposed to having strong individual tracks, so if you're going into this album expecting great catchy tunes and singles, you're going into it for all the wrong reasons. The individual tracks are strong, don't get me wrong, but they're far removed from that mentality and are meant to be listened to in unison with one another.

Speaking of individual tracks, they mostly follow the building song structure formula that post (black) metal is known for. The first three tracks all adhere to this convention, with each of them having memorable culminations, my favorite of which is on "Throatless Sirens." The title track serves as more of a breather than anything, and the ferocious "Embracing Null" also epitomizes this motif. There's really no "bad" track on Nadir, as tracks play and build off each other to sustain the dark atmosphere.

I have some complaints primarily with the mixing. The drums are just too damn dominant, and there's a lot of very similar rolls sporadically used throughout Nadir. Their militant style fits and they add a sense of brooding rage to he music, but the mixing could deal with some improvement. Sometimes I wish the vocals were louder too, but I like how they serve as a rhythmic backdrop to the more powerful tracks, and even then they usually rise to appropriate levels when they need to. At times Beyond Terror Beyond Grace sounds a bit similar to their genre-mates, but all in all I'd call Nadir a successful change of style for a band who was clearly looking for something new in their sound.

7.5 out of 10


1. Dusk

2. Requiem for the Grey

3. Throatless Sirens

4. Nadir

5. Embracing Null

6. The Blood of Time

7. Pathea

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