Beyond the Dust – Khepri

Beyond The Dust - Promo Pic 2013 HD 1

Beyond the Dust is a French progressive metal band which has a very potent future on the evidence of debut album Khepri. It is not a release which puts the band up alongside the weightier and more robustly adventurous protagonists of their genre, but one which suggests with the ripe potential coursing through their songs, that the Paris quartet could find that success some when within their evolution.

The band made a potent introduction to themselves with their six-track New Dawn EP in 2011, a release which led the band to shows with the likes of Periphery, Sybreed, Protest The Hero, Monuments, and Becoming The Archetype. The song Reality Deformed opened up a new gaze of attention with its unveiling at the beginning of 2012; the song which featured ex-Aliases singer Jay Berast already showing hints of the new maturity in songwriting and sound which is ripe within Khepri. The band signed with Dooweet Records last year for the release of their first full-length, it a 57 min concept album which has been compared to “references like Dream Theater’s Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory mixed with Meshuggah’s Catch 33 and Periphery’s albums.” That might be a grand suggestion for Khepri but certainly Beyond the Dust has grown in creative strength and imagination between releases and this certainly lights up the album.

A mature male voice sets the scene as first track Rise waits in the shadows to reveal its presence. It is a dramatic scene being cast under a stormy sky, one soon joined by the melodic charm of guitars and a darker foreboding bass tone. Similarly the ambience of the track becomes thicker in dramatic hue, providing an intriguing premise that Meshuggah bred enterprise agitates and ignites. The instrumental is a captivating opening to the album, alone sparking the imagination and anticipation of what is to follow.

Clarity is the next offering, its own elegant start a potent coaxing before being immersed in a vibrant but cloudier weave of riffs and rhythmic incitement. It is not a particularly stormy encounter though and is soon mixing in peaceful melodies and certain emotional calms, but still prone to eruptions of raw vocals squalls alongside the predominant clean delivery, as well as fierce intensive roars of sonic voracity. The track continues to seduce and blaze away in ears, the band persistently impressing in craft and ideation but, and something which applies to most of the album, not finding that final spark to push the band beyond familiar territories.

After the Light is a valiant attempt though, a voracious predator from the start but guided by the excellent clean tones of the vocalist and almost as swiftly twisting into unexpected and khepricompelling detours. The song is quite gripping, luring in close attention as you wait to see where it goes next, and it does not disappoint with its imagination whilst still managing to stay within the original framework of the song’s tempest. There are moments where it veers towards the precipice of too much but always turns away and explores new just as sonically theatrical and engrossing ventures. A proposal to take your time exploring, much as Khepri itself to be fair, it emerges as a peak of the release which grows even more impressive over time.

A smoother embrace comes with Relief, melodies and harmonies as resourceful as the guitar escapades and vocal variety. There is a small sense of flamboyancy through the solo which will appeal to some and maybe less to others but it is the lack of the bold almost warped ingenuity of its predecessor which prevents the song lighting emotions as potently. As a rapacious melodic rock track though there is little to ignore and refuse, much as with Last Breath, though the song is much more volatile emotionally and aggressive creatively. The further into its short but eventful body it travels, the greater the creative temptation discovered where again a more twisted invention is allowed to flirt with the listener even if in short doses.

Both Zero and Silence and Sorrow have the imagination heavily invested and ears fully attentive, the first a tenaciously expressive and inflammatory instrumental coaxing thoughts and emotions into the savage jaws of its successor. The most carnivorous track on the album, riffs and rhythms a barbarous incitement, the song proceeds to explore a sonic tapestry of bedlamic enterprise and melodic ingenuity. Funk, jazz, and math rock all seem to have a part of its breeding whilst the ever impressing vocals in their harmonic styling only add to the magnetism of the tempestuous encounter. As After The Light, the track stands as a pinnacle of Khepri, the moments where something new is truly breached.

The three parts of The Edge of Earth and Sea complete the album, each a part of an epic twenty plus minute narrative also standing well individually if taken that way. Part 1: The Tears Of Departures is a mellow and evocative embrace, though as expected it has a fiercer energy to its air and a darker nature to its shadows. They subsequently boil over into a brawling hardcore-esque vocal expulsion over jagged riffs and tingling melodies, the evolving vocals and warm guitar expression ensuring though that there is plenty of adventure in the growing maelstrom, a stormy scene which slips into again the more restrained and charmed opening to Part 2: The Fear Of The Journey This in turn rumbles with storm like emotion and intent across its colourful and technically extravagant soundscape. The mid way collapse into hellish domains, where the safety of the narrative’s protagonist is lost, suddenly ignites the track to new heights matched by the voracious stalking of the senses from riffs and rhythms. There is a new inescapable drama to the scene which you wish was there sooner and longer as Part 3: The Bliss Of The Gathering comes in. With its rugged terrain and hungry hostility aligned to harmonic reassurance, the bliss of its title seems to come at a price thematically, but with a new pleasing adventure offered to the listener.

It is potent end to a fine first album from Beyond The Dust, not one to rave endlessly about but easily a release to recommend progressive metal fans take a good look at. Khepri is a seriously solid and enjoyable proposition, not pushing the band above the crowd but with songs like Silence and Sorrow and After The Light showing flair and promise which definitely excites, it hints that their time in a singular light will surely come.

Khepri is available via Dooweet Records now @ http://dooweet.bandcamp.com/album/khepri

https://www.facebook.com/beyondthedust   http://www.beyond-the-dust.com/

RingMaster 28/02/2015

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Void of Kings: If Ever Hades Spoke

If Ever Hades Spoke from metalcore/melodic death metal band Void Of Kings is another release that managed to so far escape a review since it was sent through to us but we always get there in the end which is good as the EP is a rather tasty little beast that grabs attention with its intense demanding sounds whilst showing the band as one with much promise.

The band was formed in 2010 and has shared stages with the likes of Impending Doom, Becoming the Archetype, Periphery as well as taking part in the 2011 Thrash and Burn tour, already in their short but impressive life. If Ever Hades Spoke is the debut from the band which since its release has marked them as ones to definitely watch out for.

The release opens with Unseen and takes no time in ripping a deep fissure upon the senses. Immediately one is drawn to the fine and well crafted guitar work from Dan Maloney and Grant Rizzi, both creating sharp melodic intrusions that are as inviting as the heavily intense riffs they also bring are destructive. The bass of Chris Cheney balances the acidic expressive play alongside him with a prowling bestial presence whilst the drums of Jake Livingston puncture the song with controlled and punishing energetic rhythms. Raging and scowling throughout is vocalist Brian Behm who adds a vehemence and aggression all of his own to proceedings.

The EP flexes and twists the same way throughout as it starts with a merciless intensity and strong intelligent melodic invention. The balance between the two extremes the band offer is a spot on and each song is brought with deliberate thought and imagination. The likes of the intensive Crossing The Acheron, The Power And The Glory with excellent growling bass work from Cheney, and the mighty and seditious The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, all violate and enthral with equal depth.

The highly aggressive and intrusive Bleach The Flag is the highlight on the release though it is closely rivalled by The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. The track assaults the senses with a determined and defined intensity to empower the lyrics within their caustic abrasive delivery and occasional clean spoken asides. It finishes off a powerful and strong release perfectly, the band showing they can be as aggressive and equally creative as most of the other emerging bands in the genre.

The release suffers somewhat from the raw and uncomplimentary production but taken as a demo and with all the obvious positives within one still finds plenty to enthuse about and anticipate from the band in the future. If there was one other comment to offer it would be to suggest some diversity is needed within the vocals of Behm. Great though they are after a while they do grate a touch to distract from the sounds and fine lyrics he is offering up. It would not need much just a slight mixing up maybe and it is possibly worth noting the best song is the one he does do that even if it is only a little.

Void Of Kings is on the start of a journey with If Ever Hades Spoke the first marker, one that indicates they are a band that might grow into something quite special. We will certainly be keeping a close attention on them.

https://www.facebook.com/voidofkings

RingMaster 21/04/2012

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