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Beyond The Dust - Khepri Award winner

Beyond The Dust
Khepri
by Vladimir “Abir” Leonov at 23 December 2014, 8:40 PM

The Parisian BEYOND THE DUST comes with the very characteristic sound of a progressive metal concept album, inspired by the “fameux” DREAM THEATER’s “Scenes From A Memory”, a sung and played tale with chapters in the shape of tracks, added to it the renowned oriental touch of PETRUCCI’s shreds which manifestly popped up in Khepri (God of Gods, the emergence of the demiurge according to the ancient Egyptian mythology), an album whose title also rings a bell with a Middle Eastern zest - somehow akin to that of MYRATH, another French-based progressive metal band.

From the very start, the genre’s key elements are already palpable in a typical prologue “Rise” theatrically setting the pace with spoken words and ambient sounds before the puzzle pieces gather round as the bass lustrously emerges, ditches its traditional position of playing the track’s backbone of root notes and inverts the roles with the guitar so as the lead is “rhythming” and the rhythm is leading such as in “Clarity” where it has its share of passages and even follows the guitar solos and the transition bars, along with an extensive keyboard participation mostly as a say-so. Appraisable is the approach of taking simple chords and bringing out the most of them, every single instrument actively included and involved!

The mid-low tenor vocals alternate with scream - often heavily distorted - rather resembling to what we encounter in hard/metalcore, or else the growls in the middle of “After The Light” backed by screams, widening the limits compared to the glam vocals of JAMES LABRIE, even though I’m not into a comparison between the two bands, as it seems unproductive as an approach.

The tracks consist of various riffs glued together -  analogous to the collage technique in plastic arts - by gathering unrelated riffs and forming a mosaic track, but two main patterns draw a particular attention:

01 – Riffs of heavy palm-muted guitar chords with an exotic scale, as well as a tricky time signature cut, as heard in “After The Light”, somehow similar to the interludes in “Home” or “In The Name Of God” by DREAM THEATER.

02 – Lengthy purely instrumental passages as in “Zero” reminiscent of “A Change Of Seasons”, the true opportunity to “show off” the guitar solo skills by even borrowing extra-metal bluesy elements.

On the other hand, the seasoning varies along the tracks from the drum rolls and tapping verses of “Clarity”, to the repartition of solos, are scattered here and there, in the vein of the repartition of vocals in “After The Light” putting cleans in the verses, and screams that gradually pitch up and down depending on its emplacement (intro, chorus and even between the 1st and the 4th bar) or even the simple guitar riff chorus acting like synth chords.

The velvety “Relief” starts up more of a ballad, distant with echoed guitars, overdriven along the track, the rhythm chords intervene in the chorus followed by time signature cuts and heavy triple snares, that differs not from “Silence And Sorrow” with its enjoyable passages of the snares coupled with bass drum beats and the palm muted chords with fast sweep as a linker, sometimes extended with solos that all instruments can join in. Good point is that the guitar play isn’t overloaded with heavy rhythm chords (well compensated by bass), for what’s meant is to give room to all tracks to glow, not just a brutal atmosphere, even if it was intense enough!

“The Edge Of Earth And Sea” is a three-part track that rather seems more of three independent tracks having only the title in common. Brought about by a stillness abruptly taken over by a palm muted chord headbanging passage - more fervent and meticulous than ever - coupled with screams in the verse and cleans in the chorus, with the continuous bass drum beats sounding like an additional guitar playing rhythm chords, while the guitar continued an extension of the intro independently going its way despite the other instruments being on a different wave length. The keyboards that was absent from the first part actually opens the second one, in which I’m not pretty sure whether what I’m hearing is either the synth, or the electric drums effects, yet leading this time to a combination of the two main crafty patterns, be it solo passages with extensive solos, or palm mute and snare passages in a wholly instrumental ear-candy track, before another turnaround in the third part with a more ethnic dimension portrayed by a tribal percussion sustained by reggae/ funk like chords representing the basic rhythm for the first riff at least. Another point to be approbated is the fusion of guitars and keyboards, sounding much alike with each one sustaining the other and melting in it the way the bass does with the bass drum beats, the full amount condensing then getting relieved within the blink of an eye, thus molding unpredictable and highly proficient riffs.

Frenchies (with love) nailed it; each second was worth listening to. I had to remain unbiased, as the hereby is one of my favorite genres, nonetheless I guess – as other reviews keep popping up – the same reaction will be common. Presque parfait.
 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Rise
2. Clarity
3. After The Light
4. Relief
5. Last Breath
6. Zero
7. Silence And Sorrow
8. The Edge Of Earth And Sea – Part 01
9. The Edge Of Earth And Sea – Part 02
10. The Edge Of Earth And Sea – Part 03
Lineup:
Andrew - Vocals
Steeves - Guitars
Regan - Bass
Anthony - Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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