Sunday, 2 February 2014

Review; Beneath Dead Waves - Inertia

Track Listing:

1. Nemacyst
2. Delirium
3. Deliriant
4. Inertia
5. You Were Nothing
6. Imperfect
7. A Life Worth Taking
8. Suppresional

London based band Beneath Dead Waves have been going since 2007, but it's only now that their debut full-length album has been released. For a lot of people, the first thought would be that the band have had a lot of time to hone their sound, develop their sound, get their songs together, in short; sharpen their teeth. On listening to this album; Beneath Dead Waves have done exactly that.

Opening with 'Nemacyst', the band showcase an insane degree of technicality in their music. Technical Thrash Metal is what comes to mind, maybe the odd Metalcore moment, but neither tags do this band's sound justice. The two guitarists here have a mind-bending degree of talent, and they want you to know it. The vocals have something of a Hardcore fuck-you, in-your-face attitude on one side, and a decent melodicism at the other. The pace here is unrelenting, which makes sense given their claim to never compromise. There's belief here, right from the start, and it's hard not to get caught up in it.

'Delirium' continues the breakneck insanity, though the verses give the guitars a bit more room to breathe while vocalist Joey does his thing. It's the guitar leads from Doug and Matt as well as the drummer Leigh's precision that make this music so engaging so early on. The riff that comes at you three minutes into the song is unreal, and catchy. There's something of an M. Shadows ring to Joey's voice at points, but he manages not to sound like a copycat. 'Deliriant' brings a sort of off-beat bounce before shifting constantly from eerie-quiet to a Thrashy battering. Lyrically, it's sometimes a bit iffy, but it's a small niggle for another quality track. More guitar solos at the end that sound like they'd cause bleeding fingers.

Title track 'Inertia' has a slow, delicate intro with a really great bass line and some really colourful flourishes on the drums. The vocal harmonies that pop up in places have an unusual ring to them that do work quite well. There's a lot of draw in this song, not least the soaring vocal high-point before the guitar leads make the shit hit the fan! This is the song to listen to if you want a first taste of the band. It shows clearly how much this band have worked on their craft in preparation for this album; nothing is rushed, unnecessary or ill-thought-out. This is the sound of a well-oiled machine starting up, and they're firing on all cylanders.

'You Were Nothing' shows a bit of melodic subtlety and interesting composition. The sneering vocal tone is present alongside the somewhat questionable cleaner singing and the screams; the vocals show their flamboyancy in this way. Again, there's a lot of room to breathe as far as guitars are concerned, with notes feeling well placed. Half way through, the song gets slow and lyrically sinister, with everything pointing towards some sort of due musical explosion that does arrive; the drumming on show is pummelling, and the screams are somewhat disturbing in their lyrical content. There's a fair dose of conviction in tracks like this.

'Imperfect' features more grade-A drumming, including blastbeating, and there's yet more grooves by the truckload, that gives the music a certain accessibility despite the technicality. Musically, so far in the album I cannot fault the record, and that's a feat so far in on a debut album. Lyrically the themes so far haven't been entirely unique, but again it's a slight matter. Musically, this album is kicking ass, and the vocals themselves are effective, giving the lyrics a passionate delivery that stops them sounding entirely derivative. 'A Life Worth Taking' takes things back into manic technicality from the off, again showered with great grooves. The verse is exactly my cup of tea, sounding very Thrash Metal. Definitely something I could headbang to live. Guitar solos are again a high point, as well as a decent breakdown.

'Suppressional' starts and stops a few times, making for quite an uneasy opening before some more great Thrash riffs come through. Harsh vocals work well over the rhythmic qualities on show, but every now and then the clean vocals are a little out of place, which only briefly stalls this song, as well as a couple of the others on this album, before the musicality of the band as a whole keeps the listener's attention. Maybe belting out the clean vocals a little bit more would be welcome over some of the softer sung passages. Though, the deeper vocals in the middle of the song work relatively well.

Shifts in tempo, stopgaps and incredible musical technicality are the strengths of this band, and they're great strengths to have. The only weakness that does become a little apparent as the album draws on is the clean vocals. I'm all for a band showing different sides, but there's such a quality to the harder and heavier elements to the music on show that diluting it occasionally seems a bit of an injustice. All in all, however; it's a belter of a debut, in fact I do wonder what a debut album like this will act as a precursor to. If this is where this band is beginning, I'm going to keep an eye on them to see where they go from here. So should you.

Rating: 7.5/10

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