Beyond Grace – Our Kingdom Undone Review

Back in 2017 I waxed pompous about the debut album from England’s Beyond GraceSeekers was a highly impressive first offering, full of exploratory death metal that put a premium on musicianship and forward-thinking. However, I often feel that the real test of a band’s mettle can be found in that precarious second release. Fortunately, Our Kingdom Undone meets the call with a savage roar of its own. The riffs are generous and the passion is palpable. This is death metal that borrows a little something from every decade of the genre’s evil upheaval and engineers it all into one finely-tuned modern machine. One thing is for sure, in a year so quick to swaddle us in its divisive embrace, Beyond Grace are even quicker to make their position clear.

Beyond Grace trade in apotheosis. No matter the pace or the structure, these tracks are designed to build to a heady culmination. A subtle tech sensibility and progressive outlook combine to outfit the material with, not only the necessary density, but an innate desire to advance. The opening on-two punch of “Dark Forest Doctrine” and “Barmecide Feast” concisely illustrates the album’s content. The former rumbles into life with staccato riffs and vocal lines not dissimilar to the current output from modern giants like Fit For An Autopsy, (and therefore, to some degree, Gojira) while “Barmecide Feast” careens into 90s death metal and progressive fluidity. From there, Our Kingdom Undone never relents with its combination of laser-like transitions and thunderous intent.

Drummer Ed Gorrod and guitarist Chris Morley spend their time concocting one skull-splitting rhythm after another. My personal favorite, “Factions Speak Louder Than Herds,” pulverizes at every turn, but it falls to vocalist Andrew Walmsley to provide the material’s true spine. His vocal work alternates between charismatic gutturals and an array of rasps reminiscent of Mikael Stanne. But most of all, it’s his sheer vitriol that delivers the message. There’s a certain strain of spite that pours over every syllable, threatening to ignite if exposed to open flame. “Persona Non Grata’s” riff-heavy nature interplays with an off-kilter element but it is galvanized by Walmsley’s vocal tirade. His catalytic effect primes Our Kingdom Undone, from the blazing tremolos that signal the end of “The Price of Peace” to the furious buoyancy of “Fearmonger.”

There are a number of tracks on the album that begin with or at least indulge in samples and quotes. This feels a little trite at best but especially as it appears to pervade such a large portion of the track-listing. However, these are minor quibbles that are immediately salved come the closing title-track. Upon casual listens the song does occasionally quake under its twelve-minute weight, but it always excels in encompassing Our Kingdom Undone‘s narrative. The track is not only a veritable riff-platter, but defines Beyond Grace‘s songwriting ability in its zenith and grandiose identity. The album’s generous mix ensures everybody shines, from Tim Yearsley’s dexterous leads to Andrew Workman’s bass, who almost steals the show with his articulate presence. But on the title-track, everyone gets their moment come the album’s apex.

Faintly blackened passages and deconstructed melodies lilt on every song and it’s true that the album has a lot to unpack. Including some influences that are maybe a little too evident. Perhaps most interesting, is that the music’s undeniably modern alloy still bears marks of its old-school ore. Without a doubt Beyond Grace play death metal. But, crucially, the band increasingly sound like a celebration of extremity in general. In my review of Seekers I made some hackneyed allusions to Frankenstein or even A Modern Prometheus. One thing is for sure, Our Kingdom Undone must not be reduced to a piecemeal predator. In fact, Beyond Grace represent a cogent gestalt, whose potency is ever-adaptive and fundamentally angry. As the next few months promise a slew of high-profile death metal releases, Our Kingdom Undone takes first blood with a follow-up that suffers no fall from grace. In fact, it’s a step beyond.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Prosthetic Records
Websites: beyondgrace.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/wearebeyondgrace
Released Worldwide: September 3rd, 2021

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