Dustin Behm’s debut album is pitched as being for fans of ‘instrumental prog metal guitar shredding and bands like Animals As Leaders, Scale The Summit [and] Meshuggah.’
I can handle my share of instrumental prog metal, and while I’m acquainted with Meshuggah’s technical metal hammerings, I haven’t a clue as to the others. Meh. I’ll live. Does this mean ‘m not qualified to review ‘The Beyond’? I have ears and I know music, so I’m as qualified and opinionated as anyone, thank you.
I was tempted not to bother with the music, figuring I could save some work and some pain by drawing my conclusions by looking at the cover art. It’s work and pain I should probably have spared myself on reflection.
It’s straight out of the traps with ‘Mechanization’, a thunderous stop/start chuggernaut riff propelled by frenetic percussion – not heavy, but so fast it clatters and clicks. It’s that most irritating of styles: instead of driving either rhythm or force, it sounds like a knitting machine running at full pace. But there’s little time to dwell on this, because the histrionic soloing begins in an instant, a flurry of fretwork that’s all over everything.
And so it goes on. For 13 tracks and what feels like a lifetime. And Christ, does it get tedious. There are some good, powerful riff breaks in here, but they’re eclipsed by endless wanking. The result is that it all sounds exactly the same. Without any clear hooks or repeated signatures or motifs within the constructions, every composition falls into the pattern of a trudge of rhythm which is forgettable even while it’s playing, dominated by endless and excessive displays of virtuosity. It’s all too much. Less is always more.