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.
‘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:
Ultha – The Inextricable Wandering
Amaranthe – Helix
Ghost Ship Octavius – Delirium
Decembre Noir – Autumn Kings
The Odious Construct – Shrine of the Obscene
Fauna Timbre – Altering Echoes
The Moor – Jupiter’s Immigrants
Revocation – The Outer Ones
Riverside – Wasteland
Ethernity – The Human Race Extinction
Dynazty – Firesign
Deicide – Overtures of Blasphemy
Brainstorm – Midnight Ghost
Krisiun – Scourge of the Enthroned
Kingcrow – The Persistence
Cast The Stone – Empyrean Atrophy
Omnium Gatherum – The Burning Cold
Helion Prime – Terror of the Cybernetic Space Monster
Madder Mortem – Marrow
A Dying Planet – Facing The Incurable
Árstíðir – Nivalis
Mob Rules – Beast Reborn
The Spirit – Sounds From The Vortex
Aethereus – Absentia
Unanimated – Annihilation
Manticora – To Kill To Live To Kill
Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
Halcyon Way – Bloody But Unbowed
Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 1
Redemption – Long Night’s Journey Into Day
Distorted Harmony – A Way Out
Tomorrow’s Eve – Mirror of Creation III – Project Ikaros
Atrocity – Okkult II
Lux Terminus – The Courage To Be
Kataklysm – Meditations
Marduk – Viktoria
Midas Fall – Evaporate
The Sea Within – The Sea Within
Haken – L-1VE
Follow The Cipher – Follow The Cipher
Spock’s Beard – Noise Floor
Ihsahn – Amr
The Fierce And The Dead – The Euphoric
Millennial Reign – The Great Divide
Subsignal – La Muerta
At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself
Dimmu Borgir – Eonian
Hekz – Invicta
Widow’s Peak – Graceless EP
Ivar Bjørnson and Einar Selvik – Hugsjá
Frequency Drift – Letters to Maro
Æpoch – Awakening Inception
Crematory – Oblivion
Wallachia – Monumental Heresy
Skeletal Remains – Devouring Mortality
MØL – Jord
Aesthesys – Achromata
Kamelot – The Shadow Theory
Barren Earth – A Complex of Cages
Memoriam – The Silent Vigil
Kino – Radio Voltaire
Borealis – The Offering
W.E.T. – Earthrage
Auri – Auri
Purest of Pain – Solipsis
Susperia – The Lyricist
Structural Disorder – …And The Cage Crumbles In the Final Scene
Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram
Divine Realm – Nordicity
Oceans of Slumber – The Banished Heart
Poem – Unique
Gleb Kolyadin – Gleb Kolyadin
Apathy Noir – Black Soil
Deathwhite – For A Black Tomorrow
Conjurer – Mire
Jukub Zytecki – Feather Bed/Ladder Head
Lione/Conti – Lione/Conti
Usurpress – Interregnum
Kælling – Lacuna
Vinide – Reveal
Armored Dawn – Barbarians In Black
Long Distance Calling – Boundless
In Vain – Currents
Harakiri For The Sky – Arson
Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs
Tribulation – Down Below
Machine Head – Catharsis
Bjorn Riis – Coming Home EP
Twilight’s Embrace – Penance EP
Bloodshot Dawn – Reanimation
Rise of Avernus – Eigengrau
Arch Echo – Arch Echo
Asenblut – Legenden
Bleeding Gods – Dodekathlon
Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse