BEYOND MAN – Beyond Man (2021)REVIEW

They [the Elohim] don’t know, they don’t understand, / they wander about in darkness; / meanwhile, all the foundations of the earth / are being undermined. “My decree is: ‘You are gods and judges, / sons of the Most High all of you. / Nevertheless, you will die like mortals; / like any prince, you will fall.’” Psalm 82:5-6

Visions of the Nəḥuštān inverted in the flames of fiery wilderness — Dread-borne sigil and charm against the venomous bite of blackest burning flesh brings no relief from the redemption revealed beneath smoke and bones. Lifted as a veil that’d deny us further self-desecration, belief harbors nothing beyond misery for the short-lived primate who resolves to worship the ritual disarray of the primeval generational ‘self’ wherein none is lost but only mutated away from form and function. We choose ‘sides’ on paths already determined, we fuel ourselves on all manner of cyclic detritus, and what channels from the palms of the Sons of Man is either ‘sorceled Jungian magic circle or our eldest imprinted triangulation of dull senses and feeblest generational mayhem. Delay all gratification — Not for a week or a month but for thirteen years and chip away at the psyche until your creation has crumbled one thousand times. There you will hold not only the encapsulated bust of the ‘self’ but a true sigil of devotion that’d outweigh years of any comparable zealot’s insistent belief. ACTA NON VERBA darts in the dead eyes of the creative, having hated every chisel and halted the swing of every hammer in eventual disgust yet, in restless finitude he caresses this finished sculpture in awe. Perfection, indecision, spiritually ruthless patience, or admirably detailed madness guides us into the impossible, stark red ritual of Nidrosian black metal column Beyond Man as a place and patronage to burn the animus and cut away any tendrils too long in place. ‘Beyond Man‘ is the revelation of the winged serpent’s poison instilled in the genetics of all men, a possession, an inversion and a declaration of singularity.

Though the phenomenon of Trondheim-based black magick is not new the heightened craft we observe fifteen years beyond most Beyond Man-related inceptions (Mare, One Tail, One Head, Celestial Bloodshed, Saligia) persists as a source of hunger-panging void for the masses and as such, there is some guarantee that ‘Beyond Man’ will be met with blood-drooling fervor based on reputation alone. That shouldn’t suggest that this were an “easy” conception or a casual side-project, though, as primal Vordrinn became Beyond Man sometime before 2008 when a two-song ‘Neter-khertet’ cassette was recorded and shelved ’til partial reveal in 2020 as the “Art Beyond Man” digital single. As this elder song was mixed/mastered in the hands of the present it resembles an idealized draft of a rotten scripture; That said, uncertain youthful rhythm yet reveals a spiritual sense or, the conveyance of atmosphere that still reads today in ‘Beyond Man’. Though this is not ‘Deathcrush’ in terms of being absolute wrack, there is an analogue or organically unflustered and “live in studio” feeling that ‘Beyond Man’ emanates at high volume which is inarguably mayhemic as it arrives resounding in action, strained and ruptured from the psyche. “Helel Ben Sahar” affords us a filthy clenched fist to the throat as the brilliant work of W. (Fides Inversa, Behexen, et al.) calls forth defiance with what I’d describe as skin-crawling purpose, a resounding “Who are you…” burns into mind as outrage and this opening piece is already engaging and thrilling as charismatic ancient (but, not naïve) black metal spiritus.

“Art Beyond Man” has mutated heavily from a lumbering black/doom metal piece 12-13 years ago to a key point of advent in Beyond Man‘s arsenal today, it’s forward lurching traditional doom metal introduction willing the listener into the momentum of what vacuum of blackened riff and cold first wave stamping darkness follows; Here we get the best sense that there are orthodox/classic black metal aesthetic elements driving from within but this album pulls influence from a broad spectrum of forms be it doom metal, death metal, thrash metal and admixtures beyond. We aren’t necessarily talking about Darkthrone-esque niche imitation but a sort of “no rules” approach to music that is decidedly still black metal even if M. is not at all limited to a black metal register, providing an unforgettable scream to kick off this song. Here I was sold on this band and album personally, even if many of the progressions and ideas can be found in various forms elsewhere, the greater merger of ‘Beyond Man’ is distinct and charismatic from the first breath whilst still meeting the expectations of an album from the folks involved. The key distinguishing factor I would suggest here is a sense of physicality that is not implausible, a weighty session in an open room where slyly wrangled guitars and blast n’ thumping drums are enough to sate anyone who’d land between ‘Under the Sign of the Black Mark’ and ‘Worlds Open, Worlds Collide’ yet the actual work here is given seeming endless thought and balanced to an aforementioned present-yet-organic state. A seemingly simple song such as “Ave Usera’ sustains some valuable depth of statement when engaged beyond its hallucinatory entrance, bounding into clangorous multi-phasic riff which I’d initially compared to Veiled (Germany) for its blurring effect. The balance of energy versus demanding structure here is in the best tradition of auld Norwegian black metal but the delivery itself hasn’t any of the self-conscious (read: insecure, amateurish) tension of certain classics of nascence.

As the final and longest piece on the record, “The World Encircler”, arrives doomed and soon speeds to a primal blackened sort of death/thrashing headspace presenting one last throat-ripping offense to bludgeon the listener with and I believe this is one of the newer pieces (“Ave Usera” and “Art Beyond Man” were on the earlier demo) based on the sophisticated change-ups they roll between as the duration of the song expresses. This is meant to be the great flood at the end and the unholy reveal on offer as its arabesque final riff rings out, easing us away from the ritual with trailing ambiance. Looking back and reflecting on each ~36 minute run of the album revealed a sort of trance wherein I’d heard this pure, wild-eyed and inspirational black metal set and yet all other ears I’d converse with on the subject of Beyond Man seemed unsure as if they’d somehow needed more of a grid or template to follow down this path. I see less indecision here in terms of sub-genre, but rather a record that eliminates all potential generational slurry that might’ve gunked up its roll. Is it a masterpiece? Your fixation is up to you, everyone’s coffin needs a certain number of nails and I’d at least say I’m left in awe after each listening session. I’d found ‘Beyond Man’ pushed several other records out of my head quickly and the performances were enough to insist that Beyond Man possess an unreal capability and desire to be something different but also irrepressibly musical in a vitality rich ‘heavy metal’ sense. A very high recommendation.

Who are you? (88/100)

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Beyond Man
LABEL(S):The Sinister Flame
RELEASE DATE:June 21st, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp
GENRE(S):Black Metal

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