BEYOND THE SIXTH SEAL's first EP "A Homicide Divine" had found pretty good reviews all over, so when I received their full length debut "Earth And Sphere", I was really looking forward to hearing it.
Having started as a Thrash Metal outfit back in 1998, not much of it is left in 2003, having adopted a melodic Death Metal approach in their music, which bears almost all the trademarks of the Göteborg school of Death, which is not the must usual sound for a Boston based band.
But BEYOND THE SIXTH SEAL are more than just a clone of one of the masters of the genre, by delivering a very tight performance, high class songwriting, crashing and filigree guitars, grandiose melodies and even some piano like in the beautiful ending of "Faceless" (I think, the tracklist seems a little "jumbled"), with Mike McKenzie's harsh and hoarse Death vocals the element that is hardest to stomach.
BEYOND THE SIXTH SEAL bring us an excellent mix of heaviness and melodies that is not exactly original, but still is competent and compete with many of the, maybe not top players of the genre, but close enough still. The only flaw basically is that there have already been (too) many bands of this style. Still, songs like "Idols In Human Form", "A Homicide Divine", "Lift High The Banner Of Falseness" or "A Subtle Texture" are very well crafted, with McKenzie's (too) harsh vocal delivery being the only real gripe I have with this album. And I am sure the band had some real fun with the hidden track, heh.
So 0,5 points deduction for the vocals off a really good album! (Online January 22, 2003)