From Beyond, One Year EP
I think what I’m liking most about From Beyond One Year EP is that while it is heavy, make no mistake about it, it’s not too heavy; it’s just the right amount of stomping, crushing thunder so that it doesn’t get dragged down under its own weight. I know that probably doesn’t make much sense, but it’s true — while I do love bands like Omotai or ISIS that are just heavy as fuck (hell, that exist to be heavy as fuck), I can’t listen to that all the time. After a while, it’ll start to mess with your head, and not in a good way.
From Beyond, though, they ride the line, balancing awesomely between the soul-destroying tidal sound of doom metal bands like those mentioned above and more straight-up, balls-to-the-wall rawk bands, bands like Priestess or Early Man or Red Fang or even Federation X. They’re two parts Unsane and three parts Thin Lizzy, with a smidgen of Monster Magnet or vintage Soundgarden thrown in for good measure. And some days, that’s exactly what I want: a band that can roar and crush but that plays like they’re loaded up on cheap liquor and meth and are racing the cops to the state line.
And here, yeah, From Beyond delivers. Opener “Evil (From Beyond),” which I’d bet serves as the band’s overarching theme song, sets the pattern — heavy-but-not-super-heavy guitars, bang-yr-head tempos, and stoner-metal vocals (although they’re cleaner than Priestess’s, even) — although they explode even that towards the end by throwing in a surprise retro-’60s organ sound. It’s classic but still modern-sounding, filling up your ears ’til they just about bleed, which is a big part of what I love about metal these days; all that tinny-sounding production always sounded like crap to me.
“The Heavy Wait” is slower and more menacing at first, but it builds steadily throughout until it’s going at a breakneck pace (and I freaking love the bass sound here, for some reason), while “Warhorse” dips into that little bit of old-old-old Soundgarden I hinted at previously. It’s a little melodramatic, sure, with the war imagery and all, but it still works, churning and rumbling along towards the end, where it explodes into speeding, frantic guitar acrobatics and quickstep drums.
It’s closer “One Year” that really hits the mark dead-on, though. It’s a stagering, foreboding, ponderous monolith of metal — although again, it still keeps things above the tectonic-plate-shifting level — that sees McCarthy calmly declaring that we’ve all got just one year left to live. And while I’m just about sick of all the end-of-the-world/doomsday hype surrounding this year, there’s something about the way the band lets the song unfold and warn us all that sends a chill up my spine.
There’s no hype, no histrionics, just a man telling you how much time you’ve got left, the way a doctor might if you’ve been diagnosed with some life-ending disease. That, to me, is scarier than all the civilization-collapsing blockbuster movies and survivalist shows combined.
(Feature photo by Tamara Lichtenstein.)