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Beyond Creation - The Aura Review

by Matt Hensch

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Beyond Creation is like the Doomsday of technical death metal. Doomsday (the supervillain) was the result of lots of death, cloning, and genetic perfection, most known for being an utter force of destruction and putting Superman IN A GODDAMN COFFIN. They're from Quebec, a region known to produce bands that aren't far from Beyond Creation's scheme, such as Gorguts, Neuraxis, Quo Vadis, and Augury—a few members have had experience in some of the aforementioned groups and others that are similar in sound, in fact. Perhaps during the travels of its four members and the chemistry they'd shown, Beyond Creation grew into something much more powerful than its environment. "The Aura," released in 2011, is like a perfect storm within technical death metal: it does everything the subgenre promises, but with more strength, speed, stamina, creativity, and charisma than everything around it.

Beyond Creation (Doomsday) does not have any apparent weakness. They manage to pull off the technical/progressive death metal design à la Obscura (Brainiac) with more scientific instrumentation and bravery than the herd, yet avoid comical perplexities of groups like Brain Drill (Crazy Quilt). Doomsday, other than ruling the genetic construct, had once been known to be a bit of a simpleton, which explains the vocals, but hey, it all can't be perfect, right? Simon Girard applies low grunts and high shrieks often found in modern installments of this kind of thing, coming off as a basic growler who occasionally squeals like someone put the tip of a cotton swab up his urethra. Easily the worst part of the album; the only asset of the group that seems to play armchair QB while everyone else puts points on the board.

I guess the fun thing about technical death metal is how stagnant some bands make the overall picture look despite it being all over the place and filled with sweep picking, schizophrenic changeups, and the usual mumbo jumbo. In essence, the more they change, the more they continue inducing alcoholism in people like me. Beyond Creation, however, seems to not have this problem. On one hand, they are so traditional it almost hurts: there are unpredictable rhythms, straightforward riffs, sweep picking sections like you wouldn't believe, guitar solos everywhere, and many riffs and patterns per song that are used and then quickly swapped. The drums focus on blast beats and crazy fills, as any drummer in this niche is wont to do. The catch? The whole picture throughout "The Aura" manages to stick, and with remarkable ability. The anthems are all cohesive and intelligent, not mindlessly complex.

It helps that "The Aura" also applies a strong progressive/ambient touch to a handful of its numbers, although this concept is far from foreign, unless you find the works of Cynic or Atheist completely alien. For example, "Coexistence" erodes into an ambient-laden jam somewhere along its seven-minute journey, and finding an odd rhythm that is often associated with the progressive niche throughout many of the group's other algebraic slabs of meat is no uncommon find. "Elevation Path" is one of those soothing instrumentals that leads into "The Deported," an eleven-minute onslaught of utter madness that's the record's clear highlight. They pull out all the stops, crushing the listener in an abstract pounding of riotous riffs and ridiculous insanity. Be sure to wear a seatbelt if you make it this far.

Then, there's Dominic "Forest" Lapointe. I'm not exactly sure how one acquires a nickname like "Forest," as he does not sound leafy or appear surrounded by trees, but whatever. Lapointe is the band's bass player (fretless, to be exact), and he's the main draw to Beyond Creation; his performance is the key asset that makes "The Aura" so much more than just another Necrophagist knockoff. Underneath the technical swirling of riffs and spastic percussion, the bass is constantly paving its own path, frequently rising above and underneath whatever the remaining members are doing. It comes off as fresh instead of a tedious whirlwind of nonsense, although calling Lapointe's performance tame would be absurd. The bass tone (at least on the Seasons of Mist reissue) has a deep, rich omission of resonance that colors "The Aura" admirably. All in all, Beyond Creation is like the Redtube of bass porn.

I'm quite big on bass porn myself, so yeah, I enjoy what Lapointe does throughout the record, and it's pretty damn awesome how the whole band completely avoids burdening the comprehensive structure of the album with needless junk, although this is the kind of release that's extremely prone to such tomfoolery. "The Aura" is just a fun, enthralling experience that zaps life back into a subgenre that is known to frequently blow. Certainly Beyond Creation isn't the only one of its kind doing something worthwhile, but the group and "The Aura" both deserve praise for doing what everyone else is doing, yet doing it better than everyone else. If Doomsday killed Superman, then who does Beyond Creation kill? Maybe they're better suited to be Hugo Strange.

Beyond Creation - The Aura

Rating:9.0

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