Monday, February 13, 2012

Album Review: Beneath The Massacre - Incongruous

Montreal's Beneath the Massacre have a new album being released tomorrow called 'Incongruous'. I've had a chance to listen to it over the weekend and it is fucking heavy, chaotic, and totally menacing.

Turn on the record and you will immediately know who you're listening to. Two seconds in and you've already heard about 30 notes from guitarist Christopher Bradley, and then, wait, is that somebody revving a diesel engine? Nope, it's just vocalist Elliot Desgagnés unleashing his brutally guttural roar. His voice is punishing but his vocal range is limited and could be considered monotonous to a point. Desgagnés does, however, deliver as consistent a performance as he has on their 2008 full-length, 'Dystopia' and their 2010 EP, 'Marée Noire'.

That being said 'Incongruous' has made up for everything 'Dystopia' lacked in spades. It goes without saying that 'Dystopia' was a heavy album, but it lacked a lot of the flavour that Christopher had put into 'Mechanics of Dysfunction' that made it such a great album. Bradley throws plenty of tapping and sweeping into this album to accompany his chugging and at times sludgy rhythm guitar, as well as lightning quick melodious leads.

Bassist Dennis Bradley is almost inaudible at times during the record, which is understandable considering the volume and complexity of everything happening around him in the mix, but during Christopher's lead riffs, he can be heard plunking along to some pretty technical shit. His low-end rattly, echoing presence during breakdowns is very notable. This is a band that can write a breakdown with balls. I've never been an advocate of breakdowns, unless you can do something other than repetitive chugging, or loose, open-note triplets and BTM satisfies just about every time.

I should mention that when I first heard Beneath The Massacre, 'Mechanics of Dysfunction' had just come out. When I first heard it I thought to myself, “Wow, these are the most fantastic sounding programmed drums I've ever listened to.' Then a couple months later I saw them live in North Bay and realized that, no, those were in fact being played by a human being. Impossible, I thought, but then they started playing and Rouselle delivered the tightest assault of double-kicks and blast beats I think humanly possible without it sounding like someone unloading a chain gun on a stack of sheet metal. He does not disappoint on 'Incongruous' with his fastest and physically daunting performance, with not a single beat out of place.

In summary, while every member proves themselves individually on this album, they have really come together as a band to create an album, the quality of which we haven't seen from them since 2007. So I'm giving 'Incongruous' 8/10.

01. Symptoms
02. Hunted
03. Left Hand
04. Hopes
05. It *
06. Light
07. Incongruous
08. Pedestal
09. Grief
10. Damages
11. Unheard

*Recommended track

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