Beneath – Ephemeris (2017) REVIEW

I haven’t been a huge Unique Leader follower for several years. Kinda liked the Omnihility record from last year but it was all flash, whizz-bang and energy piddled out before the fourth track. The groups they’re pimping nowadays tend to be sorta dull and overly technical. I got bored of the whole “flashy, technical high-speed guitars but hey ignore our horrible drummer” thing around the second Origin album. Sweep picking, gravity blasts, djent riffs, and odes to Cynic generally do nothing for me anymore. I was way, way into Deeds of Flesh‘s first four albums back in the day but I got tired of brutal death metal’s cheap production skills. The merging of technical and brutal death always leads to sterile machinated music that lacks any real feeling. I need “feeling” in music. The brutal bands that did adapt ended up following Deeds and Decrepit Birth’s lead, adding influence from Death’s later catalog and Necrophagist style runs with the odd fretless bass here and there. But that too stagnated quickly, as most didn’t know what to do with melody or realized that soft new-age moments don’t work in a bar with 500 people, a brutal death metal band and a moshpit.

Photo by Beneath

Beneath’s sound has evolved into a happy medium of technical death metal that can slow down when it needs to and still kick out a decent tune. Bumps of melodic riffs, like Kronos style melodic, work their way into a couple of songs on the second half of the album. The core of the experience is still a brutal death metal band, particularly when things speed up, but there are scant other influences beyond death metal. ‘Ephemeris’ reminds me of the older Unique Leader stuff like Odious Mortem but with a touch of Obscura, and maybe some heavy Immolation style when they slow things down. When encountering this type of record I always have the same battle of wills: One part of me loves the blasting sound and hooky moments from song to song. The other part of me finds the whole thing entirely too similar to countless other brutal/technical albums from the last decade. I would never turn ‘Ephemeris’ off out of disgust or boredom, but I find myself itching for something else after 2-3 spins. It’s alright, but the time I’d given this about ten full listens I was done with it entirely. “Guillotine” is fucking vacuous and mystifying with it’s riffs, so if you’re going to sample any track off this I’d point there first.


Artist Beneath
Type Album
Released August 18, 2017
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Quality. 3.65/5.0