Released: 2002, Metal Blade Records
Well, it was only a matter of time. Soilwork are arguably one of the most popular and important bands operating in the metal scene today, and someone was bound to follow in their footsteps eventually. Sure there have been bands that have really taken a lot of Soilwork influence into their work, but Beyond the Embrace is the first band to take their idols and match them note for note. And they’re North American too!
Keeping all of that in mind, you basically know that with Beyond the Embrace, you’re in for a blistering disc full of double bass drumming, brutal screams mixed with melodic vocals, and dual guitar histrionics. Yep, it’s all here. And vocalist Shawn Gallagher has Speed’s growl down perfectly. I swear I thought it WAS Speed at first. So without doubt, you know that this band can dam well play.
As for the music itself? Total Swedish melodic death all the way. Soilwork is the obvious touch point, but you can hear other influences ranging from Dark Tranquillity (old and new) to In Flames and At the Gates. All different sides of the same coin (hey, wait a minute...)? Well, no. Each of those bands has a sound of their own and Beyond the Embrace expertly weave those threads and create their own mosaic. There are songs on here that probably wouldn’t be heard on a Soilwork disc, for example “Mourning in Magenta”. The song plows along at a mid-paced chug, highly melodic, and very much styled after North American power metal. I mean, aside from the vocals, the song could fit in on a Jag Panzer disc.
With a triple guitar attack, and an average age of 23, this band is young enough and has enough potential to make a huge splash in the international metal scene. This isn’t the most original disc I’ve heard this year, but it is without doubt one of the best. Check these guys out!