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Released: 2004, Noise Records
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Beyond Surface emerged as a result of the “Young Metal Gods” competition in Europe. Noise Records judged a competition of new bands from six countries, the stipulation being that all must be unsigned and none could have members older than 23. Three winners were chosen, of which Beyond Surface was one. The result is their first album, DESTINATION’S END, which, although it doesn’t totally burn down the house, is a very promising debut.
It’s a little difficult to categorize Beyond Surface. Their press sheet describes them as “Gothic Rock.” Clearly they’re not power metal, and they’re not really that thrashy, and they don’t have enough guitar wankery to qualify as a progressive metal band, yet their sound blends elements of all three. Not a bad start! The anchor of the band’s sound is a thick, meaty guitar sound--the title track is an excellent example. The band also uses a piano to its advantage, such as on “My Fading Love” and “The Cure.” The sound always moves quickly and never bogs down or gets dull. When they go all-out with speed and power, such as on the choruses (see “Crawling to Myself” for a good example) the result can be pretty heavy, although I can see some metalheads denouncing Beyond Surface is too “lite” for their tastes. There are several ballads on DESTINATION’S END and some of them do sound like the much-denigrated “love songs” spun out by some power metal bands. And, for all their excellent guitar riffage, I doubt any of the songs on this album will have a Wacken crowd going nuts. But on the whole it’s not bad.
Technically this band is flawless. If the emphasis of the contest was on technical and musical proficiency, it’s easy to see why Beyond Surface moved to the front of the pack. Vocalist Gerrit sings like a very experienced vocalist, and the coordination among all the instruments is top-notch.
I haven’t heard the other winners of the Young Metal Gods competition, and certainly none of the losers, but it does seem strange that with all the death and power metal bands that probably entered that a slightly lighter entrant such as this should have won. While their formidable skills as musicians was probably the basis of their victory, this band may suffer the curse of progressive metal bands--they may just not be able to incite passion about their music in more than a fairly narrow core group of fans. It’s very difficult to dislike DESTINATION’S END, but it’s equally hard to praise it unreservedly. Nevertheless, I do think this band has a great future ahead of them, and this album is the first stepping stone toward it.
1. From The Mountain
2. Destination’s End
3. My Fading Love
5. The Cure
6. Words Burn Down Like Fire
7. Funeral For Sarah
8. Don’t Let It Go
9. Crawling To Myself
10. The Dreaming Beauty
11. One Step
12. Come Back And Stay
Gerrit -- vocals
Thorsten -- guitars, backing vocals
Marten -- guitars, backing vocals
Max -- bass
Sascha -- keyboards
Löffel -- drums
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