Reviewed: [February 2022]
Released [2022 Self-Released]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
You might think that before emerging from a 10-year hiatus, at least as far as recording goes, Finland’s Blastanus might do something about, well, the “Blastanus.” The name was probably a fitting one for the band when they emerged with their 2009 full-length debut Odd, which was as crass and puerile as one might expect, boasting tracks like “Calyptron (The Tale of the 2 Dykes),” “Punk Bitch Part One” and its companion piece “Punk Bitch Part Two,” and “King of Encrustations.”
But by 2011, the band had seemingly grown out of their Anal Blast/Anal Cunt/Beavis & Butt-Head phase with their second album Collapse that ditched the juvenile cheap thrills for the markedly more cerebral “Arctic Despair,” “Culture Of Entitlement,” “Evolutionary Dead End” and “Reward Failure” that were accompanied by technically inclined death metal. After that, though, was radio silence.
But here we are, a decade later, and the band is back in business with the old lineup relatively intact, a forward-thinking tech-death/brutal death metal sound that offers some surprising progressive tangents – not to mention squalling “saxamaphone,” to borrow from Homer Simpson, on a bunch of songs – but still the same dumb name. Oh well, at least they death metallized their logo – not to mention the cover art – for Beyond.
“Anomie” gets things rolling with full-on brutal death metal belligerence, from its chunky breakdowns, furious blasts and the scream-and-puke vocal back and forth of frontman Kari Väkiparta and guitarist Antti Oksanen, who also handles bass here. But Oksanen classes things up a bit with some seriously shreddy lead work and dive-bombing riffs, setting the tone for much of the rest of Beyond.
“Human Capital” delivers Pantera-like groove and pick-scrape frills before blasting off, then throws in a Pestilence-like death jazz odyssey midway through as Oksanen demonstrates equal dexterity on bass and guitar. “Confined Reality” plays that sort of thing out in full as a two-plus minute freak out, closing the album out with jammy aplomb.
Jussi Hurskainen’s sax joins the fray on “Agathusia,” but is barely audible amid the flailing guitars and drums and caterwauling vocals. Same goes for the equally furious “Uxoricide,” where it serves almost as a coda to Oksanen’s light-speed lead. But its blare finally becomes more pronounced on the grindcore-like “Crimes,” another two-minute shit-fit of a song, and pops up again in several other tracks without ever being obtrusive or too obvious. If anything, the album could have used a bit more of it to cut through the cacophony.
The bottom line here is Beyond is pretty good album by a very good band – Oksanen is amazing and drummer Henri Fredriksson is a beast in his own right – with a regrettable moniker that for some reason they decided to hang on to despite long since moving past the garish intent of its origins way back in the day. It might still be good for a quick laugh, but these guys are definitely no joke.