Nothing Lies Beyond - Fragile RealityNostalgia is a dragon that almost always eludes our grasp, because we’ve grown and the things we used to love are still essentially the same. While some things like Super Mario 64 will never lose their appeal, others will. So it was with Nothing Lies Beyond, a band so sonically entrenched in the days of 2005-2009 that I was basically transported back to my high school years. The amount that didn’t hold up for me was shocking: my awful hairstyle choices, getting older people to buy me booze, atheism, wearing band tees all the time, eating Baconators more than once a year, and not having a car, to name a few. So while I would’ve doubtlessly enjoyed Fragile Reality had it been released in 2005, that’s not the question at hand. What you and I care about is whether or not I enjoy it in 2016.

According to a lengthy press release, Nothing Lies Beyond sounds like early 90s Gothenburg material. I chock this error up to the fact that I still think ten years ago refers to the 90s, so perhaps they did too; this is exactly the type of core-tinged melo-death that was huge in the mid-late aughts. It’s like a slightly more melodious version of At the Throne of Judgment, and I’m even reminded of As I Lay Dying’s magnum opus An Ocean between Us. For those who didn’t listen to that stuff or go to high school at the same time as me, think of a core-ified In Flames, Dark Tranquility, and Nightrage, a Gothenburger marinated in the sauces of modern metal and 2000s core. Fragile Reality is slick, calculated, and executed with the utmost precision.

This precision generally works. “Lost” is a good mix of In FlamesDark Tranquility and tinges of melodic metalcore, wasting none of its four minutes and just being a good, entertaining song. There’s even a nice acoustic interlude that reminds me of Whoracle, and it leads surprisingly well into a reprise of the chorus.  “Another Place” is an enjoyable track with a catchy and unthreatening verse that leads into a sugary chorus that’s difficult to shake once you’ve heard it. “Fading behind False Eyes” is essentially Core-acle, and I think if In Flames sounded more like this people would be a lot less upset with their direction, as this is far from lugubrious. These songs are uniformly tight, melodic, concise, and catchy, which seems to be exactly what the band were going for. They succeeded in this regard, and in turn it makes for an enjoyable listen in a certain sense.Nothing Lies Beyond 2016

Where Nothing Lies Beyond becomes a bit less enjoyable is in the sense that they never hit it out of the park like their influences did. There’s nothing as gorgeous as “Dialogue with the Stars” here, Nightrage’s “Shed the Blood” isn’t matched in sheer energy, there aren’t any excellent Stanne style clean vocals nor anything as perfectly melancholy as “In My Absence” either. What we’re given instead is a bunch of competent, well-executed, catchy but not irresistible melo-death informed by the melodic metalcore that borrowed liberally from the Gothenburg style. There’s nothing wrong with it, as apart from ineffective intro “Redemption” everything is enjoyable. “We are the Revolution” is the worst proper track by a small margin, and while it’s silly in the Arch Enemy Revolution-chic way, I find it more enjoyable than the majority of the former’s stuff. It also largely jettisons heaviness for hard rock on steroids flair and an eventual melodic chugging breakdown (remember those?), and ends up being charming in the “I remember this from the mid-to-late-aughts” sense. The production reminds of that bygone time as well, being loud, clean, and clear, having that high-gain bass tone that causes it to pop up pretty frequently in the mix, and the vocals clear and high in volume.

I like Fragile Reality because it’s a record I could listen to with friends back home while drinking whiskey and reminiscing about the past. It’s nice to remember the simplicity of bygone times, when any death metal that was pretty melodic was consumed en masse and enjoyed, put on a 32GB MP3 player to come up on shuffle while we played Super Smash Bros: Melee. Recently I encountered Helltrain’s Route 666 and Torture Killer’s Swarm again, and they brought back happy memories of those olden days, and I got a similar feeling listening to Nothing Lies Beyond. Much like I couldn’t force any of you to smile and reminisce about my childhood home if you looked at pictures of it with me, I can’t recommend Fragile Reality based on my nostalgia alone. If you don’t share my fond memories of listening to this stuff when it was all the rage you’ll probably be entertained, but you won’t be enthralled.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self Release
Websites: nothingliesbeyond.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/nothingliesbeyond
Releases Worldwide: July 22nd, 2016

Share →
  • Syn

    Hehehe I, too, think 10 years ago were the 90s. I also consider things from early 2000s to be recent, like movies and films. I feel like the last 10-15 years just snuck past me. It’s really disturbing.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    At first I thought you had switched band name and album title…Not a fan this “sentence as band name” fad.

    • Dethjesta

      I agree that it’s a annoying fad but there are some good bands with sentence (sometimes feels like paragraph) names.

      e.g. He Whose Ox is Gored

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Yeah, not commenting on quality, just brand. If you want that I can just refer you to “We Butter the Bread with Butter”.

  • RobbinBri

    Too funny I was just playing Mario 64 a few weeks ago. The game has lost none of it’s appeal 20 years later. I still hate that damn rainbow level. If you don’t get a good chunk of those blue coins you’ll never get 100. And the clock level’s a pain too.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Hell, I remember Intellivision. Wish I still had the console. : (

      • RobbinBri

        I think Atari 2600 was my first console. Ahhh…Space Invaders. :D

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      That clock level was brutal. Did you waste a minute running up the endless staircase before it was time? That was always fun.

      • RobbinBri

        Lol, yes I did. It’s also fun to long jump down the stairs and bonk your head on the way down. :)

  • Bart the Repairman

    Nice chorus and well placed acoustic stuff. This is solid, maybe with the small exception of the opening riff – such alternate-picked ’tratatata’ generally bothers me in derivative melodeath (that’s why „Of Breath and Bone” is the only Be’lakor album I don’t like).
    Besides, I totally share your feeling about 90s… It amazes me how the hell memory of our equals works – so many well-remembered experiences are just placed in wrong drawers while 2000-2010 period stay empty.

    • I agree with you, I was urging to stop the moment it start the song with the Take this Life riffing, but the rest of the chorus sounds cool and the bridge with the GO and all of that.

  • ferrousbeuller

    I like this. I was spinning the new Grond album Worship the Kraken the other day and it’s pretty straight ahead, mid-paced death metal but it took me right back to being a teen and watching He-Man re-runs whilst cranking some crunch from the speakers. You’re never too old for Skeletor.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Grond sounds pretty nifty, was listening to it on Bandcamp the other day too. Good old-school stuff!

      • ferrousbeuller

        Definitely! It’s a cool record – the Goatlord cover is particularly… goaty.

  • brklyner

    I totally get the nostalgia factor. I’ve been known to enjoy a medium rare Gothenburger (nice one btw, DIM!). And these guys do get the sound exactly right. But if I get the urge to indulge in the guilty pleasures of my young adulthood, I’ll probably just go straight to the source and put on Clayman or Undoing Ruin.

  • Mark Z

    As someone who was in high school and first getting into metal when all those melodic metalcore bands were getting big in the mid-00s, this sounds right up my alley. Especially with that As I Lay Dying reference. Sure the Lambesis drama put a black cloud over them in recent years, but An Ocean Between Us was probably one of the best albums to come out of that scene. Great review btw!

    • Kronos

      That is a really good album. I actually heard “The Sound of Truth” about a year before I got into metal and it instantly clicked despite me not liking the harsh vocals.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      My little brother gave Ocean to me as a birthday gift back in ’07 after researching good metal records. It’s a quality record, top-tier metalcore, but thanks to that I love it.

  • Eryops

    So you found (a) god and stopped wearing metal tees all the time? Heretic!