Live Show Review: Beyond Creation — October 19th, 2019
Lately I've taken to buying tickets to shows featuring bands I keep telling myself to look into but never get around to acting on it. Beyond Creation are one of those bands — I've been seeing their albums reviewed for years but never actually listened to them. Aside from Fallujah, who I saw 2 years ago, with Thy Art Is Murder (review), the rest of the main bill was completely unknown to me as well. I found out about the show when I was at the venue a few weeks prior, for Amorphis (review), thanks to one of the numerous posters covering the walls.
I did my best to make my trip to the venue as stressful as possible, and arrived just as the opening band started their set. The initial crowd was pretty average, and I was honestly surprised that the show wasn't completely packed by the time the headliners took the stage. I'd say there was slightly more-than half the crowd that came out for Amorphis, but it was a more energetic audience. This was also one of the longer shows I've been to in a while, with the set list running well past midnight.
When I saw the guitarist for this band, I recognised him from the other opener, Serene Dark. At first, I was confused until I realised that band was still on the bill — and they hadn't changed members and names or anything — and he was just pulling double duty. I actually liked this project a lot more, it was a really shred-heavy mix of Lamb Of God style technicality and melodic death metal. Both guitarists handled vocals, and each took turns soloing. I really enjoyed this set, there were a lot of sick riffs and groovy passages; just an overall great mix of sounds. On a bill with a lot of very technical bands, Ominous Eclipse set the tone with some really intricate, progressive material. They easily convinced me to look up whatever recorded work they might have available.
Official Bandcamp: ominouseclipse.bandcamp.com
This is at least my third time seeing this Serene Dark play a show I've been to in this venue. I saw them 5 months ago, at the Dark Funeral show (review) and a year prior, supporting Abigail Williams (review). Every time I see them, they seem a little better than the last time. I remembered most of the material in their set from the Dark Funeral show, but they also played some really grindy stuff from their debut full-length that is apparently coming out in early 2020. The band ripped through 30 minutes of punishing blackened death metal and piqued my interest in the album when it drops. Some of the guitarist's leads sounded very similar to his Ominous Eclipse stuff, but some of that could just be due to playing the exact same rig in another band with some similarities in style. That minor critique aside, the band's performance was solid and enjoyable as always.
Official Bandcamp: serenedark.bandcamp.com
Since I knew nothing about this band prior to the show, I didn't realise they weren't a 4-piece instrumental band until one of the guitarists informed us that their singer was stuck at the border and denied entry to Canada. Regardless, Equipoise hammered out a really fun set of intensely technical jams. As with every band on the bill, everyone's playing skills were phenomenal. Even without the singer, the material was really strong and didn't lose much; the crowd enjoyed everything and the band made the best of a bad situation. It's not the best way to get introduced to a band, but their brand of technical death metal was a lot more nuanced and way less staccato than what I normally expect from the genre and the lack of vocals made me focus on the instrumentals more than I normally would have. I was quite impressed with what I heard and will be checking out their recorded work over the coming weeks.
Official Bandcamp: equipoiseofficial.bandcamp.com
More unknowns, California's Arkaik also made me want to listen to more of their work. Their set was another blistering 30 minutes of progressive death metal. I wish I could remember song names, but I liked everything they played. By this point, the crowd was starting to get a bit rowdy, although there wasn't a lot of moshing at this point. I didn't dislike the band's set at all, but I also can't remember much about it other than making note to look them up after the show. Sandwiched between Equipoise and Fallujah, this band just didn't do anything to differentiate themselves in my mind, so I'll see if their studio work conveys the same feeling. It's not often I come away from a live set with a complete blank in my memory — and without drinking myself into a stupor. Still, heavy as all Hell and I have no complaints — except for my lousy memory.
Official site: arkaikband.bigcartel.com
I remembered how much Fallujah worked up the crowd the last time I saw them, and this show was no different. The mosh pit got incredibly rowdy for the majority of the band's set, and was easily the most violent one I was involved in. What the crowd lacked in numbers it made up for in enthusiasm, but thankfully no one got fucked up too badly. The band waylaid us with tracks from each of their albums, and between the relentless pace of their groove-heavy setlist and trying to not get annihilated by moshers, I blinked and their time was up. For a band I never hear about otherwise, I've been truly impressed by their live presence as much as their actual performance on 2 occasions now. For a band that was billed as "atmospheric metal," I think that was a misnomer — generally speaking 'violence' is not an atmosphere bands with that descriptor shoot for — but such is life.
Official site: indiemerch.com/fallujah
Beyond Creation closed out the night by playing their new album, Algorythm in its entirety. I was totally fine with this, as I came to the show with no useful recollection of the band or their material. This was probably the best way to be introduced to the band, as I am a full album listener so this was just the live version of how I normally look up new bands anyway. The mosh pit retained its intensity from Fallujah's set, so there are some small gaps in my memory of the show as I was helping to pick some people up off the floor. The band's mix of progressive death metal was great, and I am completely sold on the band at this point. Like everyone else on the bill, there was a good blend of meaty, driving riffs and impressive technical lead work. The performances were on point, everything sounded great and I can't wait to listen to the studio version of the record.
Official site: beyondcreationofficial.com
Not that I harboured any real doubts, but the gamble on buying a ticket to this show paid off hugely. The worst I can say is that Arkaik was merely okay, and even then I want to give them another listen. I would be more than happy to see any band on this bill again, and I'm almost certain will happen with some of them in the next year or so. Beyond Creation were the highlight, but I enjoyed the whole show. Also, I think this show easily featured the most headless guitars and 6-string basses that I can recall.
Published: October 23rd, 2019.