After eight long years since 2012’s Incongruous, Canadian tech-death titans Beneath The Massacre are back with a new slab of brutality in Fearmonger. In the time during their absence, the tech-death scene has grown somewhat, with a significant number of death metal bands at the forefront of their genre incorporating more technical elements into their music, as well as groups like Archspire, Obscura and Rings Of Saturn doing great things within the tech-death genre itself. Everything seems aligned to leave the four-piece primely poised to remind everyone why they were so admired within the scene before their studio hiatus.
Having seen the band back and more active last year supporting none-more-fast Archspire on Tech Trek around Europe, the simple fact that these guys have still ‘got it’ will come as no surprise to anyone who attended one of those blistering shows. Listening through the collection of tracks for the first time, “Of Gods And Machines” stands out as the one to dive into headfirst, serving up beatdown riffs where headbanging along is impossible to resist. Some of the riffing and drum patterns in “Autonomous Mind” are brain warping and demonstrate the guys at the peak of their technicality, making for an engaging listening experience and a standout track.
“Treacherous” packs more into its 142-second length than some bands achieve across a whole album.
The length of “Treacherous” gives an indication as to what you’re getting into on Fearmonger; the longest track to be herein found is just three-and-a-half minutes long, with each song a concise display of Beneath The Massacre’s quality in both technical ability and memorable writing.
That said, the writing process for Fearmonger was performed across the entire length of the gap between releases, with recording taking place over several months in late 2018 and early 2019, meaning that this is an album that was crafted in no hurry – and it shows in the quality on display. There’s a hint in parts of the sound of compatriots Cryptopsy; no surprise given the album was mixed and mastered by guitarist Christian Donaldson – the mix brings an abundance of heaviness but also clarity in its technicality thanks in part to the distinctive character of Christopher Bradley’s guitar tone and playing style, and no mean feat with the almost inhuman level of drumming brought by newcomer Anthony Barone.
Fearmonger is a challenging listen that grabs you by the throat, demanding your attention and not loosening its grip until the final notes of “Tarnished Legacy” cease sharply. It’s the kind of release you’d expect from a band who’ve given themselves the space required to craft their highly anticipated next album to the level they know they can achieve, and Beneath The Massacre has delivered and then some. We may be early in 2020, but Fearmonger is already a must-listen for death metal fans and will be popping up on end of year lists for sure.
Fearmonger Track Listing:
1. Rise of the Fearmonger
2. Hidden in Plain Sight
3. Of Gods and Machines
5. Autonomous Mind
6. Return to Medusa
7. Bottom Feeders
8. Absurd Hero
9. Flickering Light
10. Tarnished Legacy
Run Time: 30:00
Release Date: February 28, 2020
Record Label: Century Media Records