Released: 2004, Metal Blade
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.