Beyond Threshold
Who Are We

Beyond Threshold sounds like a fitting moniker for a thrash, or perhaps melodic death, or maybe even a metalcore band.  Instead, on their second album Who We Are, Beyond Threshold dish out a perplexing blend of commercially-inclined heavy rock with a big dose of late 90’s to early 00’s nu-metal.  Not exactly a musical recipe to whet the appetite of the average metalhead.  And herein lies one of numerous problems with this energetic but largely shallow and generic album; Beyond Threshold are playing a derivative, out-dated and forgettable style of metal, well past its used by date and ranking extremely low on the credibility scale.  Perhaps even more damaging is the fact they ply their trade with little innovation or identity of their own.

The production has a shiny polish, but the bass-heavy sound lacks dynamic range and the guitars are devoid of any cutting edge menace; sharing too much space with the overwhelming bass and lifeless drums.  As with most albums within the nu-metal realm the vocals are pushed way up front and switch between nasally clean croons, hoarse shouts and a mostly generic variety of mid-range growls and backing vocals.   The amusingly named Erik Virgin exhibits some talent within his diverse delivery but spends too much time aping Slipknot’s Corey Taylor; but generally coming off as a B-grade knock-off.

Who We Are starts with promise as opening tune “Blood Thirst” channels Motorhead in very much a nu-school fashion.  The punky rhythms, hardcore-ish vocals and heavy metal spirit rubs off during the earlier to mid parts of the song before descending into an uninspired guitar solo and clichéd breakdown.   “First Blood” fares slightly better with its more aggressive nature, chunky rhythms and catchy guitar work.  But its drawn-out length, inept structural twists and ill-conceived vocal choices tarnish any potency achieved.  Virgin would be wiser to stick with one of his stronger vocal styles rather than jump awkwardly from one style to the next.  His mid-range metalcore-ish screams are reasonable but the deeper growls sound forced and his spoken word and clean sections leave much to be desired.  ‘Never Again’ has more of a metal spine and mildly thrashy edge but is guilty of dragging on past its welcome.

Every now and then a strong riff or catchy rhythm pops-up indicating that perhaps there is some stifled potential lurking beneath the shallow surface.   And to their credit Beyond Threshold try to break the shackles of their modern rock/nu-metal blueprint by favoring heftier song lengths and incorporating guitar solos.  Unfortunately the length of the songs is detrimental to the band due to clunky arrangements and a general lack of fresh or interesting ideas.  A more direct, concise approach would probably suit their song-writing better.  While the solos seem a bit out-of-place, failing to impress from a technical or structural standpoint.

Beyond Threshold have arrived about a decade too late, sounding like a mish-mash of bands from the trendy, overpopulated nu-metal era (insert band name here) and do so without cultivating their own identity or pushing any boundaries to revitalize the ailing sub-genre.  Perhaps if they refine their sound and explore their heavier rock roots, Beyond Threshold might be able to struggle their way out of the creative straitjacket that bounds them and reinvent their style into something more memorable and substantial.  But until then Beyond Threshold seem destined to wallow in mediocrity.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
November 28th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    this was a really good critical review (although I doubt the band will enjoy it)


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