Monday, March 4, 2013

Foreboding Ether - Beyond Conjecture [EP]

Foreboding Ether is one of the newer technical death bands on the scene. Not only are they one of the newer ones, they’re also one of the better ones. With their 6-song EP titled Beyond Conjecture, Foreboding Ether shows that they have skill, talent, room for improvement, and a surprisingly large potential. What Beyond Conjecture offers is exactly what many music critics and fans look for. Foreboding Ether shows their understanding of complexity in death metal as well as the need for their own unique sound. But Foreboding Ether also does a few amateurish and slightly immature things in their music, which is exactly what I want to hear. Why?

Anyone can hear in Foreboding Ether’s music that they have capability of crafting something FAR better and more mind-blowing than Beyond Conjecture. And because of that, it makes it easier to write a follow-up album that not only sounds 100 times better, but actually is 100 times better and more mature. This is exactly what Whitechapel, Miss May I, Rings of Saturn, Dark Tranquility, Scar Symmetry, and many other metal bands did. They released good debuts (some better than others) that, although good (ok sometimes great), showed several premature characteristics that were soon swept off the table by a sophomore album that were so go that sometimes ended up in giving the bands their big break (especially in the case of Dark Tranquility and Whitechapel). But in the case of Foreboding Ether, what are the good things and the drawbacks?

The drummer is fantastic. The techniques he uses and the wide variety of patterns he lays down show immense effort and potential. It’s actually great NOT to hear a tech death drummer playing with constant blinding speeds and seemingly random patterns. It’s also great to have a drummer doing more than just the traditional djent patterns and tempos that have come to be overdone by too many bands. The drums are clearly audible, but never overpowering, which is always a good thing in this type of music. The way the snare drum is set brings out the technicality of the blast beats during songs like Tunabhuna. During some of the more complex moments that take place in songs like Fore20 and Deadline, the guitarists and bassist display one of the best jobs of staying tight with the drums that I’ve ever seen in a band this young.

Before I get into details, I would like to say that both of the guitarists are fantastic. The one thing that people might have a problem with on this particular EP is that the guitarists don’t reach their full potential. Hopefully, this is something that will be done on their next record, because any experienced music critic should be able to tell, just by listening to this, that every single member in the band (including the guitarists) have the potential to create something far better than Beyond Conjecture. But even though that is true, the guitar work on this record is full of a variety of different flavors that are sure to be a treat to the ears. One of my favorite things about this EP is the guitar work. Although the guitar harmonizations during the extremely technical parts are good, it’s more so the composition and style of the guitar technicality that I love. Because I don’t know very much background info on the album and band, I can’t exactly tell who’s doing what, so I’m going to assume that both of the guitarists are taking turns soloing. Why? Because all of the solos are fucking great. I love hearing some slower, melodic solos here and there with a mix of fast and slow shredding moments.

The vocals are where things get a little more in the gray area. There isn’t really anything about the vocals in particular that seem to stick out. They aren’t shitty, that’s for sure. But they’re nowhere near what someone would consider to be top-notch. The main vocalist is occasionally accompanied by the bassist. Something that could be considered somewhat unique about the vocals on this album is that there aren’t any super deep growls. About 80% of the vocals are mid-ranged growls and high-pitched screams.

Foreboding Ether offers a surprisingly pleasant piece of music with Beyond Conjecture. My personal favorite from this album would most definitely be House of Cards. The arrangement, wide variety of solo types, and the non-traditional breakdowns that are used just channel all of the energy into me. But then, there really isn’t a single song on here that I would consider to be terrible. Foreboding Ether’s Beyond Conjecture EP is a treat to any fan of technical death, deathcore, and progressive death. I would give this one 15/20. I will be looking forward to hearing their debut full-length.