BENEATH THE MASSACRE
"Fearmonger"

(Century Media)

01. Rise of the Fearmonger
02. Hidden in Plain Sight
03. Of Gods and Machines
04. Treacherous
05. Autonomous Mind
06. Return to Medusa
07. Bottom Feeders
08. Absurd Hero
09. Flickering Light
10. Tarnished Legacy

RATING: 8.5/10

Assuming that you enjoy listening to music that sounds like an army of heavily armed robots bursting into your living room and bludgeoning you to death, BENEATH THE MASSACRE more than warrant their status as figureheads for extreme metal’s boundary-pushing wing. In particular, many fans of all-out brutality will have fond memories of hearing 2007's merciless and bleak "Mechanics of Dysfunction" for the first time. If ever there was a time to utter Nicko McBrain's immortal catchphrase, "Fuck my old boots!", that was it. Impressively, later albums sustained the Canadian quartet's creative progress while never being less than 100-percent destructive and breathtakingly precise to the point of sounding inhuman. There may have been faster, heavier or more musically adventurous bands, but even before you crank "Fearmonger" up, BENEATH THE MASSACRE clearly represent a level of lethal savagery that few can touch. As a result, the band's first album in eight years arrives with a certain level of expectation. Meanwhile, brutal, technical death metal is enjoying a particularly fruitful period, so there's a lot of competition out there, too.

Not that you will be concerned with thoughts of any other bands, or indeed anything other than preserving the structural integrity of your skull, when this utterly insane record erupts. Not so much a comeback as a devastating ambush, "Fearmonger" is berserk and belligerent; a psychotic, pedal-to-the-metal evocation of futuristic metal violence, executed with absurd levels of technical skill but simultaneously thrumming with adrenalin-swollen heart.

If the opening "Rise of the Fearmonger" feels like an overbearing statement of intent, with its scattershot tempos and comically ferocious kick-drum flurries, then you might expect BENEATH THE MASSACRE to ease off the accelerator a couple of times during this album's 30-minute duration. Sure, there are slow, slamming grooves and the occasional passage of atmospheric clangor, but for the most part "Fearmonger" is all about the heads-down blitzkrieg, as the Canadians' titanium rhythmic spine navigates neck-wrenching twist after vertigo-inducing turn. Still largely concerned with high-velocity battery, the band's collective brilliance means that every drop in tempo or grim blur of blasts serves some dynamic purpose beyond mere blood 'n' thunder. The consequence is that songs like "Of Gods and Machines" and "Bottom Feeders" work perfectly as bursts of lobotomized aggro, while also harboring the hidden textural depths and countless deft tricks and quirks that have long set BENEATH THE MASSACRE apart from the majority of their peers. If you want to immerse yourself in the technical insanity that unfolds during "Treacherous" or "Flickering Light", go for it. Otherwise, just sit back and enjoy the beating. Welcome back, vicious robot overlords!

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).