BEYOND THE EMBRACE - Against The Elements

Beyond The Embrace - Against The Elements

10 songs
46:49 minutes
***** *****
Metal Blade


There have been many great thrash albums in the recent past. Just thinking back to the Crown's last CD makes me shiver with delight. But where most great thrash CDs in the past have been musically very close to death metal, we get something rather different with Beyond The Embrace. That might be because they are also quite different as a band. With an average age of 23 years, they are still a very fresh band, and coming from Massachusetts (hope I spelled that right) also doesn't put you at the centre of the rock'n'roll world. To make things even more different, BTE are a six-piece with triple guitar attack. Now doesn't that remind us of Iron Maiden?

Which brings us to their first regular CD called Against The Elements. Already the opener Bastard Screams shows us a very clear direction. The ruthlessness of young Metallica combined with the intricate melodic guitarplay of Iron Maiden, and there you are. We used to call that style speed metal back in the late 80ies, before thrash, black and death eradicated that virtuous genre (even my mother used to like it). And then there is BTE who act as if the last 15 years didn't happen at all, and they play this thrashy (not trashy tough) kind of speed metal with an innocence that is totally incredible.

What I nearly like most about this album, and I say nearly because it's just a detail: although there are three guitars at play, you always hear a clear and melodically played bass guitar. This renders the music into a very earthy direction. I am not able now to pick out any really great songs, because I have only listened 3 times to the CD yet (and twice while I was preparing spaghetti, which tasted even better while listening to BTE), but the overall impression is just fantastic. The band is dancing very elegantly on the thin line between mature routine and juvenile enthusiasm.

And for the ladies: the BTE singer looks like a twin brother of this Nickelback guy. But BTE really rock. I haven't been dealing out the maximum rating for a long time, but a speed metal album that's skilfully played, wonderfully produced and full of good songs wouldn't deserve less. 10 points.

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