Beyond Grace - SeekersIf perhaps, you have had the misfortune of laboring through any of my previous reviews, you may have picked up on my shameless love of death metal. You may have also noticed I’m a little picky when it comes to that genre’s melodic side. There’s nothing insightful in my complaint – I just find a lot of it to be somewhat toothless, and death by gums is no way to go. As the years slip by, I have begun to place an increasing premium on songwriting as opposed to obvious extremity, but I’m still of the opinion that the “death” should come before the “melo.” Fellow Englishmen, Beyond Grace, know these tenets well, and if debut album Seekers is anything to go by, won’t be happy until we’ve all been consumed by an omnidirectional wave of death metal to bleed the brain and skin the soul.

What makes Seekers the unabashed success it most certainly is, is the melting pot of deathly influences that prime its molten core. Crushing by nature but progressive by design, the album manages to gather a range of extremes and manipulate them into a potent compound. Guitarist, Tim Yearsley, assails the record with forward-thinking time signatures and complex soloing that recalls a combination of Leon Macey and Ryan Knight. It’s the title track that sets the juggernaut in motion with a tasteful gothic intro before Yearsley’s neo-classical fretwork makes way for a cabal of tech-inspired riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on an Obscura record. Vocalist, Andy Walmsley — sentinel stentorian and metal blogosphere prime-mover — menaces the record with a volley of wretched screams and guttural bellows; his presence is not to be underestimated, as his seething delivery permits the record much of its sense of urgency. The unsurprisingly cogent lyrics, honed from literary lions such as Jeff VanderMeer, Jeff Noon and Edgar Rice Burrows, only serve to bolster the album’s polish.

“Oracles,” an early highlight, swaps some of the more complex arrangements for straight savagery, with skinsman Ed Gorrod, showcasing as much of a capacity for intelligent fills as pure blasting. There’s just enough deviation in the album’s tempo to allow my adrenal gland a chance at regeneration – “Altars (of Avarice)” swaggers in with a titanic groove before turning up the intensity and peaking with another impressive lead. Since the release of EP Monster, the band’s determination to push their creative boundaries is clear, with this new material infinitely superior. The punishing prog proclivities of “Black Math Ritual” neatly make a feature of Andrew Workman’s deft bass lines, managing to temper ferocity with ability. All while, “Acolytes,” a song that borrows from Decapitated‘s book of rhythmic intensity, wields enough crunch to reduce me to base elements. The contrast works to worrying effect.

Beyond Grace 2017

There is absolutely no filler on Seekers, but some of the tracks do overrun, if only a little, slightly tipping the record into over-long territory. Though rare, the band sometimes hew a little too close to their influences — but considering Beyond Grace‘s ability to furnish their writing with pace-breaking passages and intersections of tasteful interludes, it’s hardly a fatal flaw. Even the mix is complimentary, with Walmsley’s vocals sitting on top but never overpowering the heft of the guitars, which, in turn, leave enough room for Workman’s amorphous bass, which manifests a sinister presence throughout Seekers‘ stay.

Seekers is as sophisticated a debut as they come, but what makes it so impressive is, despite its technical prowess and melodic delivery, it remains, at that crucial crux, a death metal record at heart. This is an album that wants to impress but needs to punish, and succeeds with aplomb. Although much of the structure is cerebral by design, the material still urges, above all else, to hammer me into form — exemplified in the appropriately titled closer “Omega Point,” which delights in its Frankensteinian capacity to host all the record’s idiosyncrasies in one signature sound. Beyond Grace have separated the wheat from the chaff by razing the whole damned field, and cemented the band as a highlight of 2017. A modern day Prometheus? Only time will tell, but most assuredly not one to be trifled with or missed.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self Release
Websites: beyondgrace.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/wearebeyondgrace
Releases Worldwide: July 7th, 2017

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  • Kronos

    I believe some camels are in order.

    • Some at least!

      • Ferrous Beuller

        Settle for nothing less than an Alpaca.

        • [not a Dr]

          Alpacas are going extinct because less profitable than sheep: you can only shear them every 2 years. Also, they are delicious.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Nice to see you around Mr Kronos.

      • Kronos

        It’s good to be back.

    • AndySynn

      4 camels… 1 for every point of anger!

      • And maybe, you know, a little something extra for the effort.

  • SoLeftISeeRight

    I’d buy that for a sand dollar!

  • Dr. Wvrm

    No no no, “deathmelo” sounds way worse than “melodeath.” Melo should always come first.

    • Ferrous Beuller

      You’re a problem.

    • [not a Dr]

      Deathmallows sound like something that should have the Dethklok logo on their bag.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Aren’t Deathmallows those cyanide-flavored marshmallows?

      • Name’s Dalton

        A deathmallow is a marshmallow that’s been charred.

        • Feytalist

          Blacker than the blackest black.

  • Brent Johnson

    Now we’re doing interpretive dance to death metal?

    • ssorg

      I’ll see you in the pit, but first I gotta learn my steps.

  • Eli Valcik

    Beyond Grace, add that to the list of Soap Opera names.

    • Name’s Dalton

      I’d have gone with Ridge of Thorn.

  • Absolomb

    This reminds me I really want a new Beyond Creation record.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    So, Beyond Grace is not the band you get when Beyond Terror Beyond Grace splits and half the members decide to keep going?

    • Kronos

      “Terror Beyond” would be a pretty good band name.

      • Name’s Dalton

        Total space tech death.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    This embedded track reminds me of Vehemence. Which is a good thing.

    • AndySynn

      I’ll take that. Although, out of all 4 (now 5) members, I think I’m the only Vehemence fan (the others just aren’t familiar with them in general)!

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Then it’s time for you to teach them a lesson in Vehemence!

        • Name’s Dalton

          Vehemently so.

        • Nag Dammit

          Nice to come here and get two recommends for the price of one. What’s the best Vehemence record to check out for a newbie to their music?

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Either “God Was Created” or “Helping The World To See”. Most people seem to prefer “God Was Created” but I like “Helping the World to See” more. On a side note, “Helping…” has awesome cover art.

          • AndySynn

            I am also a bigger fan of “Helping…”

  • Kill The King

    Definitely gonna check this out. Also……are we fine readers getting the new Decapitated review?

    • Ferrous Beuller

      Who? Oh, you must mean Decaffeinated…

      • Name’s Dalton

        Oh snap..?

    • AndySynn

      I liked it.

  • Here’s Johnny

    the embedded track is not really exciting me(some core elements, esp vocals), will give the album a go though.

    • Mollusc

      Vocals sound a bit like a Randy Blythe impression to me. And the intakes of breath between lines are off-putting. I’m going to give it a go or two, too. They’ve got some interesting ideas musically.

      • Name’s Dalton

        Man’s gotta breathe.

      • Name’s Dalton

        I love Randy Blythe’s vocals, especially early on before he seemed to blow out his pipes.

        • Mollusc

          Agreed. Sorry, I meant I don’t like the sound of this guy’s breaths, they sound feeble next to the roaring and ruin the effect for me somewhat.

        • Drew Music

          Seconded, although they still manage the occasional moment of glory every now and then. The last song they did that really grabbed me was Reclamation, that one just never gets old. I know the interwebz randomly decided it wasn’t cool to like LoG anymore, and whatever to that, but dude was straight unfuckwithable on Ashes of the Wake.

      • AndySynn

        Hey dude, just wanted to say that any similarity to Randy (I don’t hear it myself) is entirely unintentional. Though I do think the man has a very good voice, and a very distinctive delivery.

        And the breathing sounds weren’t at all meant to be offputting, we were just trying to go for a reasonably “natural” sound – not layer the vocals, or process them, too much. Give them more of a “visceral”, less calculated feel. I wanted you to be able to feel the tension, feel the strain, in the screams, where possible.

        • Mollusc

          Hi there, thanks for replying. Honestly, I wish I could roar like that! It was just my initial knee-jerk reaction, and like I said I’ll be giving it a few listens. Often the things that don’t get you straight away grow on you. Hope you sell shit loads of copies. And for the record I REALLY LOVE D R BLYTHE’S VOCALS.

          • AndySynn

            No worries man. And as much as they get a bad rap, instinctive reactions that often say a lot anyway. Although I wouldn’t necessarily count Randy as a DIRECT influence, I appreciate his very clear diction.

            I don’t know why, but it’s always been really important to me that, rather than being the dirtiest or deepest sounding vocalist, to keep things both harsh AND clear. So clarity of delivery was really important when doing the recording, as much as trying to project some honest to god emotion and energy.

            I mean, I spend WAYYYYYY too much time and effort on the lyrics (most of these songs have had 2/3 different titles and different lyrics as it is) so I at least want SOMEONE to be able to understand them!

          • Mollusc

            Alright everybody can stop making me feel bad now! haha

          • AndySynn

            No need to feel bad at all my man, you expressed yourself, and did so clearly and (I thought) rather decently.

            As to the recording process – everything went pretty well (this time around… there’s a WHOLE saga about our previous attempts to record something that isn’t worth going into here).

            I know the drums got a little tough on the last day of the drum session, but we were really keen to get as natural and “pure” sound with those as possible, so what you hear on the record is about 99% Ed, unmodified and unadulterated. The other 1% is just a consequence of not always getting a loud/clear enough take on the snare once or twice (more of mic’ing problem than anything else).

            And vocally it was a lot of fun, I’ve got a good studio here which is run by a mate of mine, and he and I just did two solid sessions, running through each track and getting 3/4 takes each time. Then I got to pick the best ones, after which I came back to do some pick-ups one evening, either of additional backing tracks, or one or two parts where I felt I hadn’t captured things the first time around.

            The only thing I didn’t like was that I still struggle to get the same level of sustain on a scream as I do live. But, at least I’m not one of those “quiet screamers” who do everything at normal speaking level. That just… doesn’t sit right with me.

            Still, we learned a LOT from the recording process, and hopefully we’ll be even better next time around.

          • Mollusc

            Cool beans. I love this site and wouldn’t want to offend anyone. Sounds like it went pretty well all-in-all, and production quality is good even when streaming.
            I liken live/recording to the difference between an experiment in the field to one in a laboratory. Live you might have a press of bodies absorbing sound, so maybe you hit it harder to start with live? Just guessing. But agreed, it’s got to be loud.
            It can only make you all tighter. Are all the songs from this going to be on your set list?
            Thanks for this discussion and going out of your way to talk about it.

          • Mollusc

            How did you find the recording process?

  • Bryan Barkman

    Listened to the whole thing, great album. Thanks for the review. m/

  • AndySynn

    Just wanted to say thank you, to the whole AMG team (but specifically Ferrous, obviously) for this.

    This is the review I have been most anticipating/dreading in many ways, as you guys don’t pull your punches or hold back when criticism is due (nor should you).

    We’ll be reposting this and saying thank you again tomorrow (trying to space out our social media posts a bit) but I am incredibly pleased and humbled by this review.

    • metalcasket

      Great fucking job man! Streaming this on Bandcamp and I know where my money’s going in a few minutes. m/

      • AndySynn

        Awesome dude, thank you.

        And, also, thank you to everyone who’s thrown some money our way to purchase the album. It means a lot that people are willing to part with their hard-earned cash for something I/we have done!

        • Nag Dammit

          Yeah, nice job all involved. You can tell this thing has been agonised over and painstakingly crafted. No technical wankery here, just solidly written, super skilled brutality.

    • Ferrous Beuller

      It’s an honest opinion – no nepotism here for the extended blogging family. I think it’s a genuinely impressive record, and it’s still in healthy rotation. Congratulations on a great album.

      • AndySynn

        Honesty is always the best policy. Unless someone has a knife to your testicles.

        – ancient made-up proverb

        • Thais Munk

          It’s a very wise made-up proverb.

        • Ferrous Beuller

          I see you’ve met Steel.

          • Hulksteraus

            I think he has met Steel’s camels and Steel wants them back apparently…

          • AndySynn

            Steel owes me camels.

            It is a long and storied saga which I hope will one day be made into an epic movie.

          • Steel Camel, starring Steel…and some camels.

          • AndySynn

            An epic saga of love, loss, and dromedaries.

          • sir_c

            Or was it Bricktop?

    • Name’s Dalton

      I just listened to this on Bandcamp before coming to AMG to find this review. Damiliar with your writing but not your band, until now. Pleased to say I throughly dig it and will be grabbing a copy soon – and a shirt (if you have them in XXL). Well done.

    • Nukenado

      Great job, Andy! This is really good.
      My only complaint is with the album cover looking like I’ve turned the contrast down too low… but otherwise this is awesome!

      All these talented people in the metal blogsphere make me want to hear what Mark Z.’s old project was like.

    • Drew Music

      I must admit, I’ve been wondering what AMG would have to say about this since I learned about it on NCS. They’ve got more integrity than pretty much all of humanity combined, but morals become tricky when your friends are involved and I’m glad you didn’t craft something cringe-worthy only to see it lauded here in bro-code solidarity.
      Well done, Other Andrew & Co. I won’t lie, the cover irks the living shit out of me (the picture itself fits in perfectly with some of my favorite albums, it’s the contrast that’s killing me) but the music and lyrics are fuckin cool, y’all should be proud of yourselves for what you’ve made. You’ll be getting my money either this payday or the next, good sir.

    • rumour_control

      Excellent work, as a writer, and a musician, Andy. Congrats on the new release, and the best to NCS.

  • The guy on the left reminded me that it’s only one week til Game of Thrones starts. The music sounds pretty good too, but thanks mainly to John Bradley for the reminder. He always seemed like a nice guy. I’m happy to see he’s got other projects going outside of Game of Thrones. It’s easy to get typecasted.

  • Levly

    The vocale are a little high in the mix for my taste but other than that this sounds great, I’ll be checking the all album out prompto.

  • I checked out BC page for „just one more track before going to sleep” and that beast held my undivided attention till the very end, despite the late hours. ‚Melodeath’ tag definitely don’t do the justice here, as this record contains more technical fireworks that many albums labeled as ‚tech-death’. I’m sure that further listening will be very rewarding in terms of discovering all the nuances.
    *applause*

    • AndySynn

      Thanks dude. I think we’re definitely moving away from the “Melodeath” tag in general, though I don’t begrudge AMG for using it here, as there are definitely still some lingering elements of our earlier years still here and there.

      The new stuff is coming together a lot darker and proggier overall, so far, so I think it will be more “Death Metal with melody” from now on (but who really knows, things might change!?).

  • Ghio

    This seems to be scratching both my Slugdge and Beyond Creation itches simultaneously. Bravo!

  • Treble Yell

    Very well written review. The embedded track is rather tasty. Bought.

  • Drew Music

    Nah homie, you do you, it’s y’all’s artwork whether we humble plebe-folk approve or not, and it looks badass on the T-shirt I’ll be lusting after until Friday. No need to try to force awesome into perfect. What I’ve heard so far slays and that’s what matters, I’m more than happy to part with a ducat or two in the name of furthering the Beyond Grace future.

  • rumour_control

    Should there be some ‘full disclosure’ on here, or am I completely off base?

    • Ferrous Beuller

      How so?

      • AndySynn

        I totally want to know what this original comment was… was it hideously offensive?

        • Ferrous Beuller

          Nah – it was one of our regular commenters who mistakenly thought you wrote for this site and I had just written a puff-piece as a result.

          Or maybe it was something about your vest – who knows…

          • AndySynn

            Damn, I’m weirdly disappointed by that…

            Also, don’t knock the vest!

  • rumour_control

    Oh, and, this is quite good.

  • rumour_control

    Solid release. Excellent write up.

  • Dudeguy Jones

    Awesome album annnnd fun af.