Release DetailsLABEL Prosthetic
RELEASED ON 2/20/2007
Beneath The Massacre
Mechanics of Dysfunction
posted on 2/2007 By:
The deathcore genre is without a doubt a touchy subject for a lot of people, but the fact of the matter is that the notion of heavily hardcore influenced death metal that left so many a bit unsettled initially is beginning to show itself as a stark reality to be reckoned with in the wake of the gained notoriety and fan base of bands along the lines of Job For a Cowboy. And while I’m not afraid to admit to being amongst the group of metal heads that had to go on a bit of an explorative journey to find out if I was personally okay with nodding my head to breakdowns, I’ll be first to admit that Evidence of Inequity was one hell of an opening statement for Canadian Beneath the Massacre.
To say that Beneath the Massacre exhibits a bit of a mechanical proficiency is an egregious understatement. Like most of the peers within their country, Beneath the Massacre have committed themselves to a decidedly contemporary version of technically vicious death metal, but rather than worshipping at the altar of the Death/Cynic approach with country mates Martyr, single in on an ideology birthed by Neuraxis.
“The Surface” opens the album with an explosion of Origin-esque barrage of dissonant machinegun riffing before moving to interplay between the simple minded rhythmic bludgeoning of “Society’s Disposable Son” and the Necrophagist inspired leadwork of “The Systems Failures”. Nearly the whole of Mechanics of Dysfunction boasts a relatively similar sort of psychotic ferocity I found so endearing about Ulcerate. The Decapitated style stop and go rhythmic panache of “Modern Age Slavery” along with cuts like “The Stench of Misery” maintain a high level intensity while continually retaining a certain sort of lumbering swagger heavily reminiscent of Despised Icon. And while the level of diversity within the tracks may not translate to wholesale variety from song to song, be it simple minded breakdowns or mind numbing virtuosity, it’s quite clear Beneath the Massacre aren’t novices to the edges of extremity.
Despite all this, I have a very hard time retaining more than a moderate level of interest in this album. It sure as hell isn’t because of length, this one clocks in at exactly a half hour. It sure as hell isn’t because of musical ability, I’m quite clearly infatuated with that aspect of the music and generally speaking I eat this sort of shit up. But with Mechanics of Dysfunction I feel like there’s a large portion of what I like to call substance missing. Herein lies the problem, perhaps I can’t see the forest for the trees but despite the technical accomplishment and nearly flawless delivery, essentially I feel like Beneath the Massacre’s sounds is little more than a shallow amalgm of their influences.
While the purists out there still may not be able to come to terms with the sort of genre skirting death metal Beneath the Massacre bask themselves in, those of you who continually wet themselves over the likes of The Faceless and Arsis will find themselves in a perpetual state of euphoria while listening to Mechanics of Dysfunction.
posted on 2/2007 By:
As I type this, “The System’s Failure” is blaring loudly in the background as maniacal staccato riffs, sweep picking galore, and a fairly uninteresting growled vocal performance assails my ear. I’m already a little tired of it, and each successive listen to Mechanics Of Dysfunction, the latest from Prosthetic Records’ Beneath The Massacre, is more and more difficult to tolerate. Perhaps I’m just totally burnt out on this still relatively youthful style, but I’d have to say the follow-up to the promising Evidence Of Iniquity EP is a letdown in a number of ways, and falls short of the groundbreaking potential the band showed on their initial outing.
First off, Beneath The Massacre are most definitely not ‘mallcore’ or any other similarly degrading, nonsensical tag, so let’s get that out of the way right off the bat. I also wouldn’t call them grind or metalcore, and they exhibit more of a Meshuggah-on-crack style of playing more than anything with an occasional nod to speedier death metal bands such as Hate Eternal, and Behemoth. So far so good, right? If only. While the aesthetic itself might seem like a devastating combination, and make no mistake, there is some truly phenomenal stuff going on at times, much of the songcraft here is nearly impossible to catch and hold the groove of. There’s just one hyperactive cluster of jackhammer riffs after another, followed by ferocious, noodling breakdowns, and propelled by Elliot Desgagnes’ repetitively nondescript, acerbic vocals.
Whether or not BTM are talented musicians or not isn’t even a question. Christ almighty, these guys whittle and wail away from start to finish, start and stop on a dime and launch into contrasting blast beats like it’s no sweat whatsoever. Determining who the star of the show is invariably comes down to drummer Justin Rousselle, and guitarist Dennis Bradley, who seem to be in a competition with each other to be center of attention. Rousselle lays down one seriously punishing drumming exhibition, and seems to come from The Berzerker school of incessant double-bass, soulless rolls, and machinelike blasts. Meanwhile, Bradley practically rapes his guitar strings for all they’re worth, and the borderline industrial tones flow with all the grace of grinding gears while driving through a hailstorm. Dennis really likes staccato riffs, and nails further technical wizardry by interspersing these assault rifle rhythms with disgustingly adept fretboard dexterity, which, unfortunately, is almost instantly forgettable when it comes to specifics.
Production-wise, considering the experts who tweaked this beastly album (St-Amand, Remillard, Douches), I was really taken aback by the sound of this disc. Cold, emotionless and nearly robotic, the greatest thing I took away from listening to …Dysfunction is how very stiff the material sounded, especially the drums. The lifelessness of the mix really tends to sap the power from the music, and rob it of the potential depth that could have been brought out with a warmer production.
Maybe I’m just not ‘getting it’ when it comes to Beneath The Massacre. Perhaps their whole point was to create a tumbling-head-over-heels landslide of an album that is only meant to callously, heartlessly bludgeon its way past in a blur of relentless sound and fury, signifying nothing. If that was the intention, they succeeded with flying colors, but with the recent Ulcerate release Of Fracture And Failure putting on a clinic in ballistic, cohesive songwriting, and Odious Mortem looking to do the same in the very near future with Cryptic Implosion (prepare yourselves, folks), Beneath The Massacre have only shown how well they can play, and how very unremarkable they are at composing anything substantial, or memorable. Mechanics Of Dysfunction is a murderous, single-mindedly chaotic bombardment, that is admittedly brilliant in it’s own bizarre way, and for those who adore this sort of metal, possible bliss awaits. What a hot mess.
posted on 2/2007 By:
Considering the reviews above, I’m not going to get too in-depth here. As many of you already know, I was taken with Evidence of Inequity and I think Mechanics of Dysfunction is a worthy successor. Similar to EoI, MoD remains fast, technical death metal that is often brutal, punishing, and unrelenting. To say this band’s music is lifeless, however, isn’t quite stretching the truth – much, if not all, of their latest is devoid of feeling. For some reason though, I find myself enjoying this 30-minute record immensely.
Boasting instrumental intricacy like many of their fellow Canadians, Beneath the Massacre charge the listener at full force. The songs’ structures remind me of Ion Dissonance and Despised Icon, though the leads are usually in an Arsis/Necrophagist/The Faceless vein, while I also hear Martyr and Neuraxis floating around, too. Really, there’s no clear highlight since most tunes sound very alike and could sub for one another at a moment’s notice.
In any case, sometimes there are inexplicable reasons why we care (or don’t care) for a piece of art. For instance, speaking of Martyr, Feeding the Abscess fell flat with me. No matter how much I listened to it, I just couldn’t get into it enough to appreciate it. Like Ulcerate’s Of Fracture and Failure, Mechanics of Dysfunction isn’t emotionally engaging, yet I’ve continually returned to both since I first heard them. It’s not memorable – as Jim pointed out – but it works for me.
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