Released: 2012, RSK
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Beyond Threshold; a band that urges people to ‘push beyond the threshold of anyone or anything that would try to hold them down’, describe themselves as truly unique powerhouse, a diverse mixture of young musicians aspiring to push the boundaries, claiming to be a truly unique, powerful, professional and intense heavy rock act. Forming in 2006, they aspire to fuse new and old school metal styles to create something that really tests what is out there today and amalgamates each musician’s eclectic tastes and styles. Eric Virgin, lead vocalist along with Chad Foster, who as well as playing Bass also lends his chords to the vocals, along with the three other band members have supported Skindred, Slipknot and Drowning Pool on US Tours and the way these bands have influenced their sound is clearly evident from listening to their album, ‘Who We Are’ which was released worldwide on the 30th October 2012 and being their second album to date (Revelation being their first in 2010), it was recorded at TVR Studios in Rockford, Illinois and produced by Jason Z. Todd Paluzzi, lead guitarist and solo extraordinaire, Tommy Castle on drums and JR Marinas on rhythm guitar complete this heavy rocking quintet from Rockford, UN.
I was given ‘Who we Are’ to, as an avid fan of all that is metal, in particular European death, 1980’s thrash, 90’s nu- metal and anything in between, and prepared myself for a treat to my earpieces. I didn’t exactly gain the decadence I was hoping for; I must say the information I’ve read on the band really got me hyped up for something quite special. I was disappointed to discover that this band from little ol’ US of A are actually just yet another full blown metalcore band from across the pond. They really have reminded me exactly why I tend to stick with the oldies or, when wanting to discover something new, look in the other direction towards Europe, sometimes not even that far. France has produced some gems in the last few years as well as Poland, Hungary and Russia, to name a few. To have the opportunity to finally discover something decent from America had me excited, I think the last ‘new’ band I became hooked on from over that way were Lamb Of God.
Straight into a confused mess of…. Well, it is messy, over indulgent and completely warped metal. It has its VERY brief moments of originality but other than that. Wow. I’ve heard it all before, so many times. For example, the intro to the first track off the album, Blood Thirst, has been pulled straight off Metallica’s kill Em All. The vocalist reminds me a lot of a fusing of Corey Taylor and Phil Anselmo; two of the strongest vocalists in metal today but we could do with hearing something a bit different already. The awful rhythm guitar tone makes me weep, the unoriginally brutal/ threatening lyrics make me pity them “I’ll skin you for winter and wear you as a coat” sounds like something the Cockney Hitchhiker might say, and the attempt at a blast beat is dreadful. They have been given a lot of praise and it’s gone to their collective head, now they’re acting like musicians with ten more years of experience than they have had.
The Second track, Downside, begins in such a beautiful manner, making way for a gorgeous acoustic guitar and wonderfully clean vocals, with lyrics that are actually quite warming and deep for a change. The only ‘Downside’ to this track is that they have attempted to sprinkle it with some very unique and lovely sounding flairs and nuances, but technically they just aren’t hitting the mark to be able to pull them off a la Opeth. The guitar solos are already starting to grate on me, and to be honest I counted about 20+ solos in this album, each one (apart from one that is clearly trying to rip off Dimebag’s signature style, and fails) more predictable and dull than the last. Everchanging is definitely the one that gets played in clubs and at every live gig, screaming out Spineshank and Slipknot at me. It would not sound out of place on a new Slipknot album; very 90’s in style but gorgeously produced. This one is a definite gem that stands out above the rest.
First Blood is dreadful. Easily skippable. Justify the Means sounds as though it will be an excellent track only to slip into lazy, predictable drum and guitar riffs, very dull lyrics, but then it does keep changing back and forth between brilliance and bullshit. By the end, I’m getting wholly fed up; the song is FAR too long! My favourite part is when it ends. No not like that. The last minute features a percussion- dusted beatdown/breakdown of sorts and it sounds fantastic. Very Sepultura circa 1990s. I do enjoy this bit. Never Again infuriates the hell out of me. There he goes again, threatening me. He looks like he couldn’t threaten a sheep. Erik needs to start thinking of better lyrics. Just because you’re metal does not mean you need to threaten to beat the crap out of me on every other song, then sing about how you hate yourself for beating the crap out of people on the remaining 5 tracks! Extremely unimaginative solo, drum riffs, guitar riffs.
The whole thing reeks of ‘Been done about 5 times over’. Its regurgitated vomit, having been vomit in the first place that someone licked off the pavement. Overthrown= weakest track. Stuck Inside has some beautiful moments, mainly resonating from the vocals/ lyrics but far too Corey Taylor-esque. The Fall of All Opponents starts in a promising manner but soon slopes into a dull, predictable, sloppily played track full of empty threats from Mr Taylor wannabe on vox. I’m getting sick of this band now.
The Struggle never should have been on the album, it’s mediocre at very, very best. If you wish to be taken seriously, STOP modelling your vocal styles on Corey Taylor, please. I don’t care if you shared a shower with him whilst on tour, please stop it. What a terrible beatdown. At least the solo was a tad more imaginative. The title track, Who We are, starts off brilliantly. After a guided tour of everything I hate about this band, the song ends with yet another guitar solo.
I think I counted around 23 average/ predictable and mostly unnecessary guitar solos. LOOK, just because you’re a metal band does not mean you have to; sing about smashing my face in, solo all over the place, attempt to blast beat even though you don’t really know how to (you even lost the beat at the beginning of one song, and it was a slow start- so shameful dude) harmonise, sound like Corey Taylor, nor do you have to sound like an amalgamation of EVERY band you’ve toured with. I’m sure they’re all honoured but take pity on you at the same time.
Review by Soozi Q