Beyond Creation – The Aura

Beyond Creation

The Aura

01. No Request For The Corrupted
02. Coexistence
03. Chromatic Horizon
04. Omnipresent Perception
05. Injustice Revealed
06. Le Detenteur
07. The Aura
08. Social Disability
09. Elevation Path
10. The Deported

[04/12/11]
[PRC Music]

I’m about to admit something that most of you already know, but I still hold much shame for: I don’t listen to entirely enough death metal. I’m merely a casual listener that latches on to bands that catch my ear, such as The Faceless and Meshuggah, but I’m mostly drawn to the progcore (I guess is what you could call it), djent, and post-metal that we regularly feature. Let it be known that I’m trying though, and at the glowing recommendation of Islander over at No Clean Singing, I sought out Beyond Creation‘s debut album, The Aura.

Beyond Creation are a four piece progressive tech death outfit from Montreal, the de-facto tech death Mecca. Unlike many of their peers in the realm of technical death metal, Beyond Creation doesn’t thrive on soulless and directionless wank and meandering songwriting; instead, the band focuses heavily on melodic elements and composition, writing songs that just happen to be technically impressive. Their heavy hitting but intellectual approach mirrors that of bands like Obscura and Gorod, but brings a certain finesse that seemed to be lacking from Obscura’s latest release. Yes, The Aura is better than Omnivium. By a long shot.

If you remember, Noyan gave Omnivium a 5/5, a score that while I didn’t agree with, I didn’t really contest. After all, Noyan’s more familiar with the genre than I am, so I took his word on it. I found that while Omnivium was a fine album, it wasn’t very consistent despite the spectacular musicianship on display. The Aura on the other hand, is exactly what I wanted Omnivium to be — technical, progressively inclined, and heavy as fuck while retaining melodic aspects to keep the listener hooked. The Aura delivers on all fronts and is not only the best death metal album I’ve heard all year, but could very well be the apex of modern death metal.

Okay, so that’s a pretty bold and overreaching statement, especially on a band’s debut record. The praise doesn’t go undeserving, however. Each of these guys are top notch players of their respective instruments, including noteworthy bassist Dominic “Forest” Lapointe, whose six string fretless bass skills has graced bands such as Augury and Quo Vadis in the past. His presence is known, and he’s much more than your average metal bassist — he adds to the polyphony and harmonizes with the guitar instead of merely doubling it. He even takes an astounding solo in “Omnipresent.” His ability to weave the intricate standout basslines throughout the record draws even more parallels to their contemporaries in Obscura’s Jeroen Paul Thesseling. It’s easy to compare the two bands in this regard, but a mere carbon copy, they are not.

Guitarists Kevin Chartre and Simon Girard both utilize extended range guitars to their advantage, avoiding the banal low chugs that seven string players often become associated with and instead make full use of the guitar’s extended range by working all over the fretboard. No breakdowns or lingering polyrhythms; The Aura is packed with killer riffs, blistering solos, and enough melodic leads to hook the listener into repeat spins. As mentioned previously, the playing is certainly technically inclined, but done tastefully while keeping melodic elements intact, in a similar vein of Decrepit Birth. Beyond Creation also couples this with progressive influences, as in the surprisingly lush “Coexistence” and the 11-minute closer “The Deported.”

Guitarist Simon Girard also pulls double duty on The Aura, providing the vocal front of the band. While there’s nothing particularly outstanding or overly unique about his gravelly growling and screaming, his delivery is spot on and he knows when to let the music speak for itself. Also of note is the album’s driving percussion delivered via Guyot Benoit, who plays with not only agility and dexterity, but with nuance. As someone who admittedly doesn’t typically give many drummers their due attention, I felt it hard to write Benoit off as nothing more than an intricate metronome. His monstrous fills and rhythms found themselves in the spotlight many times. This dude is much more than footwork and blasts, that’s for sure.

I know we’ve been handing out fives left and right on Heavy Blog lately, but I honestly haven’t been this excited over a death metal album since The Faceless’ Planetary Duality. This is modern death metal done righttechnical, catchy, and progressive. No breakdowns, no out of place clean singing, and no filler. Beyond Creation are a band that fans of extreme metal need to keep all eyes and ears on.

Beyond Creation – The Aura gets…

5/5

– JR

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