Released: 2002, Nix Music
Time travel with me for a second...June 2001. I’ve been at Metal-Rules! for about an year and a half, and I’ve got this evil looking CD sitting in my review pile, under the banner National Cemetery Orchestra. All instrumental. I loathe and despise instrumental metal albums, so I figure I’ll listen to the album once, maybe twice, give it a bad review, and then shelve it. Well, surprise surprise, I actually like the CD quite a bit, and, in a watershed moment, gave it a 3/5 rating.
Fast forward to July 2002, and TNCO’s new album arrives in my mailbox. Unlike last time out, I was actually looking forward to listening to it once it arrived, and I’m devilishly happy to say that mastermind Karl Nix has not disappointed! BEYOND THE SHADOWS is a total improvement on its predecessor. Totally dark, still with fuzzed guitars, and wildly atmospheric, BTS is a great disc. Like the last disc, BTS is metal mood music, covering you in washes of musical colour (albeit mostly black and grey).
The biggest difference this time around is that all of the songs have their own identity, sounding unique but also complementary to each other. Though each song is great on it’s own, this disc is better listened to all at once. The pacing of the disc is great, Nix knowing when to through in a quieter track like “Nevermore” to break up the assault of thrashier tracks such as “Red Skies” and “Stormfront”. This is simply a great metal disc.
Best listened to in a darkened room, with one candle burning and the smell of incense on the air.