"Insect Song" (Metal Blade; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I really liked what I heard from Beyond The Embrace when I reviewed "Against The Elements" a few years back. "Against The Elements" got a lot of playing time from me and made me realize that the band's home state of Massachusetts was truly in the midst of a creative, heavy scene. Beyond The Embrace, along with Killswitch Engage and All That Remains, were more proof that Massachusetts was the epicenter of a new and engaging sound and style.

The Southern swagger of "Fleshengine Breakdown" kicks the album off in style, but quite frankly it's what I least expected. Otherwise Beyond The Embrace take traditional metal and spruce it up with a variety of metal genres including prominent inclusion of Pantera and late-era Metallica sounds, Swedish melodic death metal (both traditional and modern), as well as other metal giants who've contributed significantly to the evolution of metal over the last decade or so. The energetic frenzy of " Of Every Strain" and "The Weak And The Wounded" make it plain and clear that Beyond The Embrace can rock out with the best of most bands.

Given the broad range of influences that dictate the sound and style of "Insect Song" it would be too easy to say that a wide range of metalheads will appreciate it; but I daresay that a lot of metalheads might in fact be a little put off by what they here. Regardless, I like what "Insect Song" has to offer and I appreciate the fact that it isn't a carbon copy of their debut.

"Insect Song" was produced by Ken Susi.

Beyond The Embrace: Shawn Gallagher on vocals, Oscar Gouveia on lead and rhythm guitars, Alex Botelho on lead and rhythm guitars, Jeff Saude on rhythm guitars, Adam Gonsalves on bass, and Kevin Camille on drums. All programming done by Aaron Clay.

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"Against the Elements" (Metal Blade; 2002)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Using the melodic death metal sound as a foundation, Beyond The Embrace heap loads and loads of guitars, riffing, and backing keyboards to make a steady wall of sound that covers a lot of ground. As expected, Beyond The Embrace's "Against The Elements" features melodic death metal tempered by a penchant for melody rather than blinding aggression.

"Compass" may be the most aggressive song of the ten tracks that appear on "Against The Elements." "Rapture" has an old Dark Tranquillity sound from the days when Anders Frieden was the vocalist. Twin guitar leads no doubt inspired by In Flames are on nearly every track, but oddly enough end up sounding more like Iron Maiden than In Flames.

The melodic vocals go a long way to making this a palatable CD. The aggressive vocals are prominent, too, but the cleaner melodic vocals are an added dimension that gives "Against The Elements" its strength. The vocalist sounds like a cross between James Hetfield and Jeremy Chatelain (Handsome) - and that's not a bad thing.

If you like All That Remains and Killswitch Engage you'll like Beyond The Embrace. Beyond The Embrace are also proving that Massachusetts is a fertile ground for heavy metal music as they are following in the recent tradition of Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, and All That Remains as great bands coming out of The Bay State.

"Against The Elements" was produced by Beyond The Embrace and Aaron Clay.

Beyond The Embrace is Shawn Gallagher on vocals and keyboards, Alex Botelho and Jeff Saude on guitars, Oscar Gouveia on lead guitar, Adam Gonzalves on bass, and Mike Bresciani on drums. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Jun 2018 20:14:09 -0400.