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Beyond the Embrace
Insect Song
June 2004
Released: 2004, Metal Blade
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

Beyond the Embrace is another Gothenburg-influenced band, only they are from Boston, not Sweden. On their second full-length, INSECT SONG, the band has penned ten songs that are ultra-melodic and generally enjoyable to listen to. They employ THREE guitarists so the crunching wall of six-strings is excellent. As one would expect with three guitarists, there are riffs o’plenty and there are melodic breakdowns are in nearly every song (the exception being the acoustic instrumental, “Ashes”). The music itself is reminiscent of In Flames and Soilwork without all the keyboards and whining. Vocalist Shawn Gallagher sounds a lot like the lovechild of James Hetfield, “Speed” Strid and Anders Friden, to be honest! I prefer his harsher voice found on “Weak and the Wounded” and “Within” than the slower—not necessarily clean—vocals he uses at times. The band itself seems to be excellent musicians but I would say the weak link in the chain has to be Gallagher’s voice.



“Fleshengine Breakdown,” “Plague,” “Redeemer” and “Within” are the heaviest of the bunch and incorporate thrash and melodic death elements to move things along. The solos in these songs are worth mentioning because with a rhythm guitarist and two lead guitarists, you’re treading on hallowed ground with Iron Maiden and that is a head-to-head competition that no one wants to be in. Fortunately, Beyond the Embrace hold their own and produce thunderous riffs and compelling solos. The intro to “Redeemer” is most impressive. The melodies are quite memorable and the majority of these songs are quite catchy without being too commercial. Even Gallagher’s Hetfield-esque voice won’t see this band on TRL anytime soon.



This record was a welcome addition to my playlist. While the melodic death market is a tad crowded, the big guns like In Flames, Soilwork and Arch Enemy are being shown the door by new bands like Beyond the Embrace paying tribute to their style. Not only does INSECT SONG honor the once-mighty heroes of Gothenburg, but it stomps on anything any of those bands have released in the last 5 years.



KILLER KUTS: “Fleshengine Breakdown,” “Plague,” “Redeemer,” “Within”
Track Listing

1. Fleshengine Breakdown
2. Plague
3. My Fall
4. …Of Every Strain
5. Redeemer
6. Insect Song
7. Ashes (Instrumental)
8. Weak and the Wounded
9. Absent
10. Within

Lineup

Shawn Gallagher—Vocals/Keyboards
Oscar Gouveia—Guitar
Jeff Saude—Guitar
Alex Botelho—Guitar
Adam Gonsalves—Bass
Kevin Camille—Drums

Other reviews

» Against the Elements
by Waspman

» Insect Song
by Lord of the Wasteland

» Insect Song
by JP


Next review: » Beyond the Embrace - Insect Song
Previous review: » Beyond the Embrace - Against the Elements

Beyond the Embrace
Insect Song
July 2004
Released: 2004, Metal Blade
Rating: 2.0/5
Reviewer: JP

I don’t get the enormous buzz around these guys. The hype is not in anyway justified although most of the hype seems to be coming from A&R types and not the grassroots fans. When Beyond The Embrace (stupid name for a metal band) first came out they were tagged as the next Metallica. I actually laughed out loud when I read that. The buzz continues unabated so I’m glad people are digging this band but it sure ain’t me. BTE are very middle of road modern metal. They fall into that zone of dull complacency, not heavy, not fast, not catchy…just there floating without identity in limbo, a musical no-mans land.



The comparisons of vocalist Shawn to James Hetfield are warranted as he sounds very similar. This is where the crux of the issue lies. To me, getting compared to Metallica is a BAD thing. Now, Shawn can’t help it if he sounds lie someone else. It’s not this fault BUT…if he insists on delivering his pronunciation and phrasing like Hetfield and borrowing his vocal melodies, the accusations are warranted. However, what if they WANT to be like Metallica? That never really occurred to me but it is within the realm of possibility, which would explain all the hype because a lot of people still like the modern sounds of new Metallica.



So let’s say these young dudes like Metallica and want to be like them. That’s why they lost me. They have three guitarists but manage to sound like one guitar. They underplay on almost every song and rely on production to mask the lack of well...playing.

I’ve seen this trend where guys wear guitars but don’t really play them much just jump around. I’m not saying BTE do this but for a CD with three guitarists some of them aren’t pulling their weight. They have six guys in the band and Motorhead STILL makes twice as much noise with half as many people!



Metal Blade as always does a good job of packaging and presentation although the orange lyrics on orange background, makes it hard to read. The words themselves are pretty good, some nice word-play and good ideas but also some whiny teen angst stuff as well. Production is kinda murky but damn it’s heavy! I don’t know who producer Ken Susi is and although it is not preferred production sound he still did a damn good job. This record is good and loud with kick and crunch.



The songs are where BTE don’t make the grade. Nothing here sticks. Too much new Sepultura, too much new Metallica, too much new Anthrax, a lack of solos, never fast enough, never mean enough and songs just rumble along in the middle ground. If you are going to play death metal they will have to pick it up a notch. If they want to go for melodic modern rock ground they will have to write better songs with hooks. I still can’t recall one chorus, not a good sign.



I didn’t really like the first CD either so this is strike two for these guys in my book.
Track Listing

1. Fleshengine Bbreakdown
2. Plague
3. My Fall
4. …Of Every Strain
5. Redeemer
6. Insect Song
7. Ashes
8. Weak And The Wounded
9. Absent
Within

Lineup

Shawn Gallagher-vocals
Oscar Gouveia-guitar
Jeff Saude-guitar
Alex Bothelo-guitar
Adam Gonsalves-bass
Kevin Camille-drums

Contact

N/A

Other reviews

» Against the Elements
by Waspman

» Insect Song
by Lord of the Wasteland

» Insect Song
by JP


Next review: » Beyond the Flesh - What the Mind Perceives
Previous review: » Beyond the Embrace - Against the Elements





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