JANUARY 21st 2013
BEYOND THE STYX: SLOUGHING OFF THE SHADES

Review by Anka

There is quite a lot of metal coming from France lately, I must admit I have never expected to hear much hardcore hailing from the hexagon but here’s a band to prove me wrong. Beyond The Styx is a new 5-piece group that comes from the city of Tours and lists bands like August Burns Red and Lamb of God among influences. Their debut EP is called ‘Sloughing Off the Shades’.  Although in their presentation on Bandcamp they describe themselves ‘a kind of hybrid between deathcore and thrash metal’, I must say I don’t hear much thrash in the mix of the reviewed material.
 
The EP length is not very satisfying, we do have 6 tracks but, as we are dealing with a genre like hardcore here, these songs stream really fast. Overall it’s quite a demonstration of fury that only hardcore can produce. But with all the intensity I feel the material doesn’t bring anything new and for the most part, the song writing is sacrificed in favor of loudness and aggression.

There are good riffs and some great melody that pretty much make the entire experience a bit more interesting. But there are also stagnating elements that will make it dull. Repetitiveness is not good in this case and doesn’t produce any artistic effect, typical breakdowns are abundant, once you hear a couple of songs the rest of them don't seem to bring anything new except for minimal changes in the melodic line. The rhythm section often gets stuck on repeat as well but I guess it serves its purpose of ‘support’ and nothing more. All that coupled with harmonic stagnation, and you know there’s nothing out of the ordinary happening on this release. ‘Seen a flat line on a heart monitor? Maybe too much adrenaline can indeed hurt.

There’s a good contrast I like in particular, between the nice melodic lines and the raw aggressiveness of the vocals. As for the vocals, I couldn’t say there’s any surprise on the front. Yes, there’s fierceness and lots of energy, good highs and low growls, but even so, the vocal lines get stale after a few minutes.

Song(s) to remember: Heca 3

There's not enough to make this release shine out there in the multitude of hardcore releases, and we know how many of them are popping up lately, but there is potential in the melodic leads which I find the most appealing. For a starting band on their local scene this could actually be an excellent release, the production is not bad either so it's all up to them to continue and grow into the direction they choose.  With this band and with many hardcore bands I find they get stuck within the boundaries of the genre, with feeble attempts to crack into other genres. I think there's a lot of potential to explore, improvise and diversify.