August 14, 2008 | | 3.5

Beyond Terror, Beyond Grace, Extinction / Salvation

There’s more than the crushing slabs of grindcore on Beyond Terror, Beyond Grace’s (BTBG) latest album. Sure, the album has thick, bruising rhythms that combine elements of old and new school grind along with straightforward death metal and some crustier elements, but it’s got a little something more. Apparently the four dudes in this Australian crew decided to capture the rawness and honesty of a live atmosphere, by completing each song without any post production work — the entire recording session lasted less than five hours.

Now, other bands have done this in the past. Some were sheer genius, others pretty sloppy. BTBG fall somewhere in between with an overall feel that is fairly cohesive and powerful. Thick slabs of guitar riffs battle with manic blasts from the drum kit as the dual vocal attack spits out lyrics focused on social topics.

The opening 25 seconds is just some guitar tone noise.

Fading Light
“Fading Light” explodes out of the gate with rapid, screamed vocals and furious drums. Thick guitars back up the duel guttural screamed vocals as rhythms shift from manic to hyper manic quickly and often. I’m not sure if there is just one dude belting out this range of vocals or a couple, but it’s gnarly nonetheless.

Smiling in the Face of Despair
If you’re not paying attention to the track numbers on your CD player you would have missed the quick transition to “Smiling in the Face of Despair.” It comes in so smoothly from the previous song with churning guitars and deep guttural vocals. There’s a slick, head banging groove to this one when not in full on grind attack.

Reinvention Ghost
“Reinvention Ghost” makes a nearly similar transition as the last song, but with a split second pause to allow you to catch up. It’s got a more death metal feel to the guitars and machine gun drums and the aggressive vocals come in. 37 seconds later and it’s done.

Recycled Carnage
Massive guitars and crushing drum work get this one going. “Recycled Carnage” certainly feels like you’re in the middle of mass rioting and the devastating effect of an unruly mob. It’s caustic and furious in every aspect. It ends with a scream.

Super thick rhythms and beefy drums open up this next one as the duel vocals let loose. The tempo changes throughout this one are quick hitting and move along at a pretty brisk pace. The track seems to build upon itself as it progresses.

I’m not sure how the band has done it, but “Ultimatum” seems to have even more furious activity and aggression injected into it’s pummeling and grinding assault. I like the “slow down” around the :40 mark of the track. It’s a nice change of pace, as is the breakdown at 1:04.

Finally, a decent break between tracks to catch your breathe. This one starts slowly with big hits from the drums and black metal like riffs as the song builds. Vocals come in the form of screams just after the first minute passes, accompanied by thick, bass heavy riffs and calculated drumming. “Surveillance” serves as a sort of intermission between the grinding attacks of the first and second halves of the album. It’s more distant feel is perfect for such an effort.

“Defeated” comes in with churning bass and memorable drum work. The guitars chug along as the song progresses to the :40 mark as the band erupts with crushing drums and guttural vocals.

I love the start to this next track as crushing riffs do their best to smother and bludgeon. It’s got a darker feel than some of the previous tracks, as well. There’s a decent groove churning along to this one that’s tempered, but not destroyed by ferocious tempo shifts. This is definitely a must hear track.

Divinity Collapse
“Divinity Collapse” starts out slowly with massive guitars. There’s an undeniable crust punk feel to this one as it really gets going around the 20 second mark with a quicker pace and aggressive vocals.

Distant screams introduce this next one as a similar rhythm to the previous track continues along. There are some intense blasts from the drums on this short, 40 second song.

“Machine” is a dark, pummeling track with bruising rhythms and thick feel. This is a monster of a song. I love the shift in sound around the one minute mark with memorable guitar work.

Born and Raised
BTBG waste no time getting this next one stomping through your speakers with manic drums and aggressive riffing. The slow down around the 30 second mark is a nice respite before descending into skull crushing madness once again.

“Unattainable” has much a more technical guitar feel to it as it kicks you in the throat with a large growl and rapid fire drums. The higher end vocals on this one seem much more in your face and confrontational (if that’s even possible considering their already acerbic presence).

A chaotic, anarchist punk feel gets this one started as animalistic blasts from the drums erupt with the vocals. The guitars are all over the place with crushing riffs, caustic squeals and churning rhythms.

Apathy & Acceptance
I love the opening guitars on this next one. They’re memorable and catchy, yet have enough of an industrial edge to them to stay evil. More memorable riffing around the 30 second mark keeps “Apathy & Acceptance” entertaining. And let’s not forget the high paced vocal delivery.

Gaze of Finality
Guitar reverb and noise open up briefly for churning rhythms and guttural growls. This is another monster of a song, complete with tempo changes and aggressive blasts.

The album closer is an outro of sorts with lots of guitar noise and some drums.

~ ~ ~

Man, that was one hell of a ride. BTBG’s Extinction/Salvation is more than simple, crushing blows to the cranium. There’s an intelligence behind the brutal attack that is both refreshing and surprising, yet delivered in such a fashion that it fits the thick, caustic feel of the album perfectly. This is definitely a must have for any fan of grindcore.

Favorite Tracks:
Smiling in the Face of Despair
Recycled Carnage

Divinity Collapse

Additional Notes: