Beneath the Massacre-Incongruous
Record label: Prosthetic
Release date: February 14, 2012
Beneath the Massacre have been well-known connoisseurs in the art of technical death metal since their inception into the genre with 2005's Evidence of Inequity. After signing with Prosthetic Records in 2007, they successively pumped out one solid release after another. Even before I pressed play, I knew that Incongruous was about to blow me away. After hearing their 2010 EP, Marée Noire, I could do no less than assume that with Chris Donaldson of Cryptopsy as their producer once again, their newest effort could not possibly disappoint.
Within the first thirty seconds of the opening track, "Symptoms," I was immediately hooked. What I heard was the all-too-familiar frenzy of fancy fretwork, drum technique so remarkably alacritous that it makes your head spin, and vocals so gut-wrenchingly evil that even the Pope couldn't maintain pure thoughts after hearing them. I was bombarded with the brutality and technicality this band has always been known for. By the end of the song, I had realized that this was about to be an album that I could not put down. The subsequent track, appropriately titled "Hunted," supported my prediction of Incongruous having me completely floored. It opens with an eerie sound clip ("And all around there was the horrible feeling of death") followed by a barrage of blast beats and technical guitarwork, transitioning then into a riff so melodic and crushing that even the most critical would be bobbing their heads. The nine songs that followed exhibited similar structure: an almost superfluous composition of technicality, bone-crushingly heavy breakdowns, and relentlessly powerful vocals.
At a glance, Incongruous appears to be another formulaic technical death metal record, but upon sitting down and analyzing it, I became aware that the album is their most mature, well-structured, and most crushing to date. Similar bands of the genre seem to have difficulties catering to both the traditional death metal and more recent "deathcore" crowd, and that shows through in the structure of their music; it typically ends up consisting of technical, more death metal-oriented portions that poorly transition into generic, predictable breakdowns characteristic of bands who frequently appear in Hot Topic. With their newest effort, however, Beneath the Massacre seems to have overcome this boundary and created a record that caters to both crowds without sacrificing proper structure. Each song is so well-structured that every portion transitions almost flawlessly into the next, and successfully builds up/maintains enough energy to keep the listener interested. Incongruous is easily the heaviest, most gut-wrenching, and most solid release from Beneath the Massacre thus far; the bar has been successfully raised for technical death metal.