Beneath (IS) - The Barren Throne - (8.5/10)
Published on April 28, 2014
Oh man, I’ve actually been really looking forward to this, especially since my recent review of Am Tuat’s Themélio really got me into the mood for good death metal again. I’m continuing my death run of reviews with one of my most highly-anticipated releases of 2014: Beneath’s second full-length, The Barren Throne. I reviewed Beneath’s 2009 promo and really liked it, I had high hopes for their debut Enslaved by Fear and it certainly didn’t disappoint either, which is why I have this silly grin on my face while listening to The Barren Throne.
This album saw the arrival of Benedikt Natanael after the departure of Gísli Sigmundsson and I felt a slight degree of trepidation about what the new vocalist might sound like. Well, he’s a damn capable replacement and the fucker is only 22 years old, so you know he’s going to get better. He has loads of power and his growls are guttural – like it’s been summoned from the gullet of Satan himself.
There are some great songs on the album, I was pleased to hear that distinctive Beneath sound bash through in “Iron Jaw” and I think it’s a great attribute when you can recognize a band by a riff alone. “Depleted Kingdom” starts the album off in a deceptive manner and turns out being quite an epic, the band forayed into this realm once on Enslaved by Fear with the majestic “Monolithe” and I really like that side of their compositions. “Sky Burial” is another one of those, it starts of quite slowly and builds up to a majestic high before lowering you slowly back down to earth, only to be pummelled to bits by “Veil of Mercy.” The stand-out track on this album for me surely is the title track; it’s a short, sharp and powerful mix of technical wankery and brutal thuggery.
The band’s taken a more technical approach since the early days and the music remains very tight throughout, but the tempo is also slightly more varied between the fast belters and those played at a more tempered pace. I must admit though, having listened to the promo and Enslaved by Fear again a few times, the one thing I miss on this album is the relentlessness in the brutality that seems to have lost some ground to technical focux.
My personal preference aside, I don’t think this is a bad thing because it shows the band’s growing and isn’t satisfied with one winning formula; with The Barren Throne, Beneath really do their utmost to dislodge your malleus with their crushing riffs and quaking blasts and in my humble opinion, this is the hottest new Death Metal band around.