Beyond The Grave

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Beyond The Grave

BEYOND THE GRAVE are a five piece heavy metal band from Newcastle in the North East of England. For a long time the North East has been home to a thriving metal scene but it has been a long while since a Newcastle based metal band have really taken the world by storm... All of that is about to change! Beyond the Grave formed in 2005 and have undergone two significant lineup changes since that time, Luke Harrison replacing former guitarist and founding member Stephen Payne and Andy Needham replacing original bassist Liz Jasiak. Now with a settled line-up and a strong following Beyond the Grave are about to embark on nothing short of heavy metal domination!

BEYOND THE GRAVE are a five piece heavy metal band from Newcastle in the North East of England. For a long time the North East has been home to a thriving metal scene but it has been a long while since a Newcastle based metal band have really taken the world by storm... All of that is about to change!

listen to beyond the grave

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Production Credits

BTG the human tideBTH sands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engineered, mixed & produced by Bryan Ramage

The Human Tide 2009

Sands of desolation 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU4RGDamT3Q&feature=relmfu

 

Revievs

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Over the years I’ve heard many demos and albums from unsigned bands.  Generally they fall in to two categories, either they get recorded in a band member’s bedroom, recorded and mixed by one person and they end up sounding very amateur, or the band have focussed their resources going into a proper studio and getting a half decent recording done. The latter still can vary in sound depending on how much they invest into studio time, but on the whole they do tend to sound better than the former.

Beyond The Grave certainly fit into the second category. Their debut LP The Human Tide is a very slick, very professional sounding album. Produced by Immanis guitarist Bryan Ramage, this has to be one of the best produced efforts from an unsigned metal act I’ve ever heard.

Jumping straight in with Down Amongst The Dead, BTG waste no time getting to business.  On offer here you have pedal note riffing, punishing drums and the frankly, superb vocals of Adam Jackson weaving in and out of the riffs.  Adam is definitely interesting as a vocalist.  He has a mix of dirty, throat tearing screams and grandiose clean sections that just soar high above what you normally expect from your run of the mill unsigned band. As we move in to the rather superb By The Light Of A Setting Sun. Here we get to hear more of Jackson’s clean vocals.  Multi layered and layered with reverb, the chorus sections sound huge, which he then contrasts with the shorter bursts of intense screaming. It really is something special.

The dual assault of guitarists of Warwick Bennett and Luke Harrison is something to be reckoned with that for sure. The influences I can hear in the riffs are far and wide reaching, there’s bits of Machine Head, bits of Arch Enemy a sprinkle of Megadeth and a huge swathe of NWOBHM across all the guitar work here. What you get for your money with the guitars are thrashy riffs, harmonies and long extrapolated guitar solos. So far all the boxes are ticked here. Take Witness for example, pretty much the whole song is harmonised, from the counterpointing chorus, to the rapid fire pedalling main riff leading into a dual harmonised guitar solo.  Or maybe listen to the title track and find yourself listening to a half time chug fest throughout the verses intersperses with pinch harmonics that would make Zakk Wylde envious, to the downright epic wash of distortion in the chorus, it really is superbly put together.

The dual harmony leads are carried on throughout the album, Before My Eyes having a particularly fantastic harmonised lead section before the traditional guitar solo battle kicks off proper. Normally I do get sick of such things repeated a few times in an album but I don’t here, Bennett and Harrison have clearly spent a lot of time making sure that they don’t sound too repetitive so credit to them for it.

At the time, BTG enlisted the help of producer Ramage to help record the bass (the full time bass player is one Alex Kyle) and the work he laid down here is a solid foundation underpinning the massive guitars on display. A lot of the time you can’t really hear the bass guitar, but when you can hear it, the reason becomes very much clear.  The bass tone being used doesn’t have a lot of bass or low end grunt to it to beat the sound of the guitars, I only really noticed it in the dual lead sections of Witness and The Human Tide when the rhythm guitars dropped out.  You can hear it in other places throughout the album and I do believe that if it was removed you would be able to tell, but you have to listen very hard to pick it up.

Halfway through the album, things change up a bit.  In Memoriam is the token ballad that any metal band worth their salt these days will attempt. The production changes up a bit here as Ramage introduces piano and strings as Jackson sings a heartbroken melody. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that this song is anywhere near as strong as what precedes it and what follows it. Firstly, although the intro features a quite enjoyable acoustic lead melody, when the song starts proper, it’s exchanged for a thin, trebly and washed out strummed clean electric sound. Initially this didn’t bother me, but as the song went on it began to grate on me and become quite irritating.  Its nothing wrong with the performance, it is simply the sound of it.  To be perfectly honest, if they had kept the acoustic guitar to play the whole song through I would have much preferred the song as a whole.

As well as the guitar, the verses in the main bulk of the song don’t suit Adam’s voice. You can hear that he seems uncomfortable with the tone of his voice here.  When he gets to the choruses and opens up the power a bit more, it sounds much better. The sentiment of the song, the lyrics and the overall feeling put into it is brilliant, it’s just a shame because for me it is the only weak song on what is a very strong album.

Things do pick up afterwards though as Dead By September kicks in. At this point we get to hear drummer Marc Jackson cutting loose and letting rip with what he can do.  When I saw BTG perform a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t help but notice how hard Jackson had to work throughout the live set and now I can hear what he plays with perfect clarity I am even more impressed.  The drum work is absolutely phenomenal. From his rapid fire kick trills in the first guitar solo to Dead By September to the breakneck speed of Witness his drumming style conjures up memories of the likes of Dave Lombardo’s work on the early Slayer records.  The drum lines are very complicated in some places (like the chorus section of Before My Eyes) and he is playing underneath some very complicated guitar work yet somehow it just all fits and even manages to sound effortless. How this is done I’m not sure, but I’m certainly not going to argue with the results.

The album closes with the huge No Time To Bleed (I did find this rather ironic, being the longest track on the album at 7:20, but that just might be me).  For me, this is where BTG show what they’re really made of.  The riffs snake in and out of each other, there’s plenty of changes on offer, the drums wallop with almost metronome precision and the vocals, my word, Jackson excels himself here in the choruses. A very fitting way to close the album, indeed.

The Human Tide has to rank up there as the best unsigned album I’ve ever heard.  It’s not quite perfect, there are a few things I would have changed if I was making this album and I do feel that In Memoriam almost interrupts the album and could have done with being created very differently but all in all, this is a brilliant album and the sign of very great things to come for one of the hardest work bands in the north east right now.

8/10

Posted on Dec 8, 2011

 


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