Beneath the Massacre

Marée Noire

01. The Casket You Sleep In
02. Black Tide
03. Drill Baby Drill
04. Designed to Strangle
05. Anomic

[Prosthetic | 09/14/10]

I have a love/hate relationship with tech-death. You’ve got a genre full of musicians with potential, but only a handful are able to reach that potential. Where bands like Necrophagist, The Faceless, and Gorod have repeatedly shown their dominance and talent, bands like Brain Drill and Burning the Masses are just not very good at all. It’s definitely hard to get right. You can’t just string wank together and have people take you seriously. You need to work for it.

Beneath the Massacre are a band I have been neglecting. I may have put them off because I heard Burning the Masses once and didn’t like it, so I got them confused with each other later. Their names are too damn similar! However, I’ve finally corrected this confusion and picked up Marée Noire based on the recommendations from a few friends. I must say, this is probably the heaviest thing I’ve enjoyed upon several listens in a while!

Marée Noire just feels right on just about every level. The production lends to a beefy and chaotic atmosphere where the low, thundering riffs and blasts of double-bass will certainly put subwoofers and good headphones to ample use. Beneath the Massacre provide what is in my opinion the right kind of brutality and heaviness. The start/stop riffing in opening track “The Casket You Sleep In” is dizzying in its rapid fluctuation in volume. The complex riffs are cut up with a fair share of wank and dark melodic tremolo picking as to avoid too much monotony. The bass is also surprisingly present, especially on the track “Black Tide,” where the bass writhes under a mountain of guitar with a matched level of technicality.

The vocal work is largely unintelligible, but no one listens to this genre of music for the lyrical musings—let’s be honest. Instead, the barked vocals provide another rhythmic texture to the music and is suitable enough. The drums are also not only played with the adequate technique, but the tonality and atmosphere that they bring is damn near perfect. What this album has going for it the most is definitely tone and production; even if  you aren’t actively listening or you don’t typically listen to this sort of thing, it just sounds great.

Beneath the Massacre hit a sweet spot on this EP, avoiding several banalities and pitfalls that the genre is known for. There isn’t an obnoxious overuse of directionless wank and breakdowns.  In fact, both are put to use as good songwriting techniques in applying some semblance of dynamic. The songs always seem to have a purpose and a realized direction. The EP format also lends well to the band’s sound; while clocking in at a very short 13 minutes, sometimes it’s best to tackle a band like Beneath the Massacre in bite-sized chunks, bowing out before mental fatigue sets in.

Despite the praise I’ve given Marée Noire, which is definitely their best work to date, there’s not much groundbreaking or original to be found here. That said, if you’re into brutal/tech death, you know what you want to hear and Beneath the Massacre brings it in spades, and they do it well.

Beneath the Massacre – Marée Noire gets…

4.5/5

– JR

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