Quebecois Death merchants Beneath the Massacre just might be the heaviest band of all time. I don’t mean heavy like virgins in Alaska think Dim Mak is heavy, I’m talking about going-out-for-a jog-at-2:45 a.m.-on-Monday, August 6, 1945-in Hiroshima heavy. I’m talking about paying-child-support-for-18-years-and-then-finding-out-it-isn’t-yours heavy. This is the real shit. One of the many things to love about these guys is that they don’t fuck around with intros. From the second you press play you’re subjected to a tidal wave of inhuman speed, barbaric heaviness, a mind bending array of dizzying scales and fretboard pyrotechnics, and the ridiculously brutal vocals of Elliot Desgagnes. Dude sounds like some kind of demon-possessed Decepticon. It’s like Destro with radiation poisoning and a pitch shifter. The only drawback of a Beneath the Massacre album is that nothing else seems heavy in its wake. Try it, listen to Incongruous start-to-finish, then pop in an old favorite. Symphonies of Sickness sounds like really energetic Rockabilly after this shit. Scum sounds like 4th grade-level talent show material. Even the long-standing tradition of heavy-hitting Canadian Tech Death that surely inspired Beneath the Massacre (old Kataklysm, old Cryptopsy, old Neuraxis) seems tame by comparison. Of course, I’m speaking in terms of sheer sonic power here, not necessarily songwriting quality. Still, I’ve never heard a close-range machine gun battle from the trenches, but I’m assuming this is pretty much what it sounds like. If I had one minor complaint, it would seem to be the band have all but abandoned their trademark breakneck groove and osmium-heavy breakdowns. With the Deathcore and Metalcore tags being seen more and more as a pox on the musical landscape, it comes as no surprise. We aren’t even treated to a proper breakdown until the monstrous “Light,” at about the halfway point of the record. As the band continue to evolve towards full-on Grind, the less frequent use of dynamics and tempo change doesn’t make their potent attack any less impressive or dangerous, just a bit less memorable.
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