Beyond Creation – Algorythm – Album Review

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Artist: Beyond Creation

Album Title: Algorythm

Label: Season of Mist

Date of Release: 12 October 2018

One of the names that kept cropping up when I mentioned my new-found love of extreme technical and progressive death metal, was Beyond Creation. I had it on good authority from several quarters that this band was well worth checking out. With so many new albums to review, I have been unable thus far to find the time to delve into the past of this Canadian band to hear what their first two records offer, namely ‘The Aura’ (2011) and ‘Earthborn Evolution’ (2014). However, the imminent release of album number three, ‘Algorythm’ has afforded me the perfect opportunity to finally find out what all the fuss has been about.

It doesn’t take long to realise that these voices were correct in recommending Beyond Creation to me. The music on ‘Algorythm’ is heavy, intense, technically adept and very interesting, with plenty of different influences and styles blended together to create a rather intriguing affair, one that has kept hold of my attention for a fair while now.

There are several reasons why ‘Algorythm’ has found favour with me. One of them is the warmth and melodic intent that laces plenty of the music here. Another is the playfulness of some of the material, not to mention the overall variety which seeks to blend light and shade together so cohesively. The jazz influences help to heighten this overt playfulness but thy can also be very sophisticated, introducing clever subtleties that only reveal themselves upon very careful listening.

In an unusual twist of fate, I must confess that my absolute favourite thing about this record though, is the bass of Hugo Doyon-Karout. I’m usually more of a guitar man – almost exclusively so actually. And when it isn’t the guitar, usually the drums feature highly. But as good as both of these elements most certainly are, on ‘Algorythm’, it is the bass that arguably does the most damage.

To begin with, it is front and centre in the mix – you can actually hear what Doyon-Karout is playing, which is a bonus. But then, once you focus on it, you realise that it simply dances like a devilish Imp intent on causing mischief and good-natured menace. Doyon-Karout never sits still, his fingers a blur as the bass is used to liberally flavour the compositions rather than just add some rumbling bottom-end. It does that when the songs require it but otherwise, it has a mind of its own, weaving and darting with precision and skill.

Mind you, I feel a bit bad singling out the bass because each of the four members delivers a performance bristling with precision and skill. Alongside Doyon-Karout, Simon Gerard and Kévin Chartré melt faces with their riffing and lead work, whilst Philippe Boucher is clinical behind the drum kit. Gerard then brings his vocals to the party, delivering both higher and lower- pitched growls with apparent ease.

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‘Algorythm’ kicks off in ominous, cinematic fashion thanks to the grandiose intro piece ‘Disenthrall’. Pounding percussion underscores some menacing brass that sounds like it emanates from the deepest pits of Mordor.

There’s barely a pause before ‘Entre Suffrage Et Mirage’ takes over, blasting from the speakers in vicious fashion. Swirling riffs, vibrant pulsing bass work, blast beats and classy drum rolls and fills dominate, whilst Gerard opens his lungs with venomous intent. It’s a suitably extreme start to leave the listener in no doubt that Beyond Creation are an extreme metal band first and foremost.

Despite the ferocity of the material however, Beyond Creation soon introduce other elements to justify their ‘complex’ and ‘prog’ tags. The intro to ‘Surface’s Echoes’ is rather beautiful, a masterclass in jazzy guitar and bass interplay. A demonstrable djent influence can then be heard within the dampened guitar chops as the heaviness returns with vengeance, albeit with a liberal amount of melody that seeps out of the pores of the song as well as significant groove and expansive lead guitar soloing.

Again, courtesy of ‘Ethereal Kingdom’, the intro to a song piques my interest. It is moody, oppressive and wonderfully sinister in tone, initially led by enveloping synths. It is an extension of the cinematic intent heard in the album’s introduction, underlining the grandiose nature of Beyond Creation’s work. Once more the bass guitar is brilliant as the song gently builds, introducing instruments and vocals carefully along the way. The pace is markedly slower for large portions, allowing more atmosphere and understated melody to flavour the track.

The seven-minute ‘Algorythm’ is a beast of a track and well worthy of the title-track status, incorporating everything from frenetic, break-neck blasting, complex riffing, bludgeoning rhythms and a welcome mid-song transition into more relaxed contemplative jazzy surroundings. This song showcases more than just about any other just how smooth the changes in pace and structure really are, demonstrating a fluidity and a mature knack of powerful songwriting.

Elsewhere, I just love the expansive melodic sections within ‘Binominal Structures’ that gives the song a wonderfully epic feel whereas the lead guitar work within ‘In Adversity’ is extremely enticing. The same could also be said of ‘The Inversion’, which also benefits from an intriguing stomping and lurching riff early in proceedings.

‘Algorythm’ then closes with ‘The Afterlife’ which again reprises the more symphonic and cinematic element of Beyond Creation’s music, but this time it is incorporated within the maelstrom of extreme metal, thereby drawing vague comparisons with the likes of Fleshgod Apocalypse, albeit these Canadians don’t ever go quite as over-the-top in this aspect as their fellow countrymen. Nevertheless it is an arresting and suitably bold closure to an impressive album.

I’m glad that I was pointed in the direction of Beyond Creation because theirs is a hugely enjoyable slab of technical death metal, up there with the best that has been delivered during a highly competitive 2018. Whether or not it compares favourably to their previous material, I cannot say, although I will explore their back catalogue as soon as time allows. What I can say for sure is that ‘Algorythm’ has been on near-constant repeat over the past week or two and I am nowhere near bored or tired of it; if anything, their incredibly detailed and razor-sharp music gets better with every listen.

The Score of Much Metal: 9

If you’ve enjoyed this review, you can check out my others from 2018 and from previous years right here:

2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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