Beneath the Massacre

Technical death metal is a unique beast. When pulled off well (Origin, early Neuraxis, Decrepit Birth), it is one of the few genres that can make you stop and go – “Whoa… what the hell was that?!?”; leaving you reaching for the rewind button on your cd player to re-listen to what you just heard. It is highlighted by speed and often virtuosic guitar playing. But one of the caveats is that in the quest to show off your musical chops at 450 beats per minutes, an album can blow by and you find yourself grasping for something to hold onto (Brain Drill). So does the third full length by Canadian band Beneath the Massacre fall into that trap? Kinda.

Anyone who is familiar with their first two full lengths will know that Beneath the Massacre definitely has all bases covered in the musical talent realm. From the second the album starts you get one of their trademarks guitar sweeps, and oh do we have plenty of sweeps with this one. We’re talking more sweeps than a broom closet here folks. Guitarist Chris Bradley is incredible, and might want to explore pulling off a few bank robberies because there is no way he has any fingerprints left. Drummer Justin Rousselle somehow manages to keep up with him, showing off John Longstreth-level ability to stop and start more times than Houston rush hour traffic. Elliot Desgagnés’ vocals stay around a fast, low-pitched death growl throughout the whole album. They get a little monotonous, but I personally will take them over raspy screams any day.

The songs keep pretty much the same elements: head-spinning guitar sweep, quick slowdown, blast-beat backed sweep part two, slower guitar solo; put it all in a blender and see what happens. However, the structures are varied nicely and don’t follow the same pattern track after track. The first half of the album is light-speed, and after the instrumental “Incongruous” they slow things down (relatively speaking) on the following two tracks – “Pedestal” and “Grief”. These tracks creep into faster deathcore territory, but don’t be scared off by the ‘d’ word as it’s a loose comparison. If nothing else it’s a nice break and a chance to see them let the afterburners cool off a bit.

Following those tracks it’s back to business as usual. I went through the album multiple times, and while impressed, am not sure how many times I would go back to it. Few parts stood out or were memorable, which is not meant in any way to imply a lack of talent. It’s just that after you get done you feel like you’ve been on one hell of a trip and you know it was good, but most of the details are still pretty hazy and you’re trying to figure out what to tell your friends. The question for Beneath the Massacre now is where to go with their sound? They have the face-melting part down, so how do they evolve from there? It’s worth exploring as I can see album after album like this start to wear out its welcome quite quickly.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kevin E
February 27th, 2012


  1. Commented by: Jesse Wolf

    Great review brother and definitely agree with you that it does wear itself out after a few spins. The end breakdown in the tune Light is nuts.

  2. Commented by: Clauricaune

    This will be an absolute buy for me.

  3. Commented by: Jordan Itkowitz

    “might want to explore pulling off a few bank robberies because there is no way he has any fingerprints left.”

    great line

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