The debut release from American melodic death metal band Beyond the Embrace holds no surprises for anyone with even a fleeting knowledge of the genre basics, taking most of its cues from mid-nineties In Flames ('The Jester Race' and 'Whoracle' albums) but with more dominant sung vocals that are uncharacteristically impressive for a death metal vocalist. While it's a little disappointing that this band isn't striving to push the boundaries of melodic death in the way of some of their American contemporaries such as Arsis, there's something to be said for keeping the now-classic traditional spirit alive, especially in the face of this decade's metalcore trends that have corrupted the genre.
As expected, there's the usual mix between light, melodic lead guitars and harmonies indebted to classic metal (or rather, the early melodeath bands' takes on classic metal), with squealing solos and harmonies lying a little uncomfortably on top of harder backing riffs that would make death metal purists tear their hair out (and those guys have a lot of hair). The more obvious In Flames influence can be seen in the acoustic sections of the instrumental 'Drowning Sun' and the finale of 'Release,' but it isn't direct plagiarism as much as a devoted imitation of style, and Shawn Gallagher (presumably no relation) makes the whole thing stand out from the crowd with his thrash-inspired clean vocals, sharing roughly half of the limelight with his more standard death growl.
As I said, there's nothing truly creative or exciting about this band, but it's another decent entry into the melodeath canon for the US market, and one that will hopefully aid in the quest to exterminate the metalcore infestation. No matter, it'll probably run out of steam some time soon. My biggest disappointment here is that 'The Riddle of Steel,' although an interesting, extended instrumental, wasn't a death metal cover of Basil Poledouris' theme from 'Conan the Barbarian.' That would have been great.
1. Bastard Screams
2. Mourning in Magenta
5. Drowning Sun
6. Against the Elements
8. The Bending
9. Embers Astray
10. The Riddle of Steel
1.Bastard Screams 2.Mourning In Magenta 3.Compass 4.Capture 5.Drowning Sun 6.Against The Elements 7.Release 8.The Bending Sea 9.Embers Astray 10.The Riddle Of Steel