Beyond Creation - The AuraMontreal maestros Beyond Creation’s album actually came out in 2011, has seen one subsequent self financed reissue which ultimately clinched a deal with French label Season Of Mist (what took you so long guys) whose roster reads as a who’s who of technical musical expertise and bewildering sonic quality. The rather innocuous promo sheet rather modestly understates just how devastatingly brilliant “The Aura” is. Canada has had a knack of creating innovative rock and metal bands that have spanned multiple generations and often defy genre categorisation and Beyond Creation has undoubtedly secured a place in that exalted history here.

Most technical bands whether it’s jazz, progressive rock or metal, fusion, thrash, power, and of course the style that Beyond Creation purvey, namely technical death metal attempt to raise the bar musically as much as possible and in death metal terms this was probably started with Death (obviously), Suffocation and Cryptopsy many years ago creating a following of bewildering proportions that spans the entire globe, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few extra-terrestrials have sought the influence of such acts for their own planetary tech death metal scenes through their own SETI (Search for Exemplary Technical Innovation; yes I made that up) programs in music. Cosmically speaking Beyond Creation has risen the bar in this realm to stratospheric magnitudes created by the unflinching and confident dexterity of Simon (vocals, eight string guitar), Kevin (seven string guitar), Dominic (six string fretless bass) and Phillipe (drums and percussive extraordinaire).

I didn’t expect any surprises when this album started, and I didn’t get one but after about 15 seconds you are totally hooked and drawn into such proficient musicianship that I had to check it was an actual debut even though the guys have played in other bands. The incisive guitar work covers a massive tonal range and backed by the sumptuous bass work that saturates each song with an enriching atmosphere. In fact the bass work is probably the aspect you will notice the most as it is everywhere, every single facet of the songs has some superb bass work incorporated. So as the opener “No Request For The Corrupted” is underway my mind switches to the drums and as with all metal bands, if the drummer is shit, the band is shit, well that’s my opinion anyway and has been since the early 80s. Phillipe’s technical skill is monstrous and on a par with Flo Mounier. With as many blasting styles as you could possibly name this guy is a machine, an incredibly versatile machine at that as his style veers from slower thundering double bass incursions to gravity blasting face peeling insanity.

The song lengths vary massively from sub two minutes to ten minute plus and I found this is so much more enjoyable than ten five or six minutes tunes. “Co-Existence” is a beast of a song, covering seven minutes of jazz laden bass work, copious injections of riffs and the solos, whilst my experience of the different styles is limited, I was totally immobilised by the degree of harmony, melody and just how they sat so smoothly in not just this song but all of them. In places I was led onto the path that fellow Canadians Odium produced on their “Burning The Bridges To Nowhere” as like that album “The Aura” possesses modernistic elements without resorting to wimping out in any shape or form. In fact without them this album wouldn’t be the same.

I’ve said in previous reviews for albums that are just so fantastic I could write a paragraph on each song, and the same applies here with the very short instrumental ”Chromatic Horizon” being the equivalent of an onslaught of a billion scorpion stings. It never fails to surprise me how Chuck Schuldiner’s influence pops up all over the place in today’s death metal, the guys legacy really is legendary and I question whether bands like this would ever be around if it wasn’t for him. Technical wizardry abounds on “Injustice Revealed” as that bass work infests every aspect of the song to such a degree that you probably need a minimum of four listens to this album; first listen to one guitar, then the next, then the bass and finally the drums. After that listen to it all and involve yourself in the vocals which are probably the only part of this album that you might find remotely predictable, though predictability is in very short supply here.

“Social Disability” like the whole of this album is a musician’s wet dream, the bass playing really is off the scale and despite the bruising heaviness it all works so seamlessly into the songs. The exceptionally sweet “Elevation Path” is a soothing tranquil piece of music that in effect serves as an intro to the epic “The Deported” which possesses a savage beauty of bombarding death metal amongst the virtuoso playing. The straight death metal sections are counter balanced by ferocious blasts; the tune is fucking awesome is all I can say just like this whole album is and despite already being out since 2011 if you’ve not heard it then you would be an absolute idiot not to as it is that good and as a result it gets the magical ten from me.

 (10/10 Martin Harris)