Thrashin' Machine

From Beyond

Painkiller Records, 2003

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


I admit the picture of the two guitarists on the back of this release in leather and spikes made me leery of putting this release in my CD player. I had visions of a terrible Judas Priest cock-rock band trying to recapture their youth.

Disappointment is a blessing. This is a five song blitz of 20:00 that has me still picking up my jaw.

This release starts out with "Death Machine," an aggressive, fast, Pantera-ish "Mouth For War"-like tempo. Then at the 2:50 mark, the band changes tempos and plays an interlude, a variation of the melody of the fast section, before building back up to its frenzy by the 3:30 mark. But it is in that 30-plus seconds that From Beyond made their mark in my mind. Typically, a lesser band would have played fast for the entire song and not shown that they have a sense of musicianship. At the 4:46 mark, the band launches into a syncopated section, typical of thrash bands, but it is immediately preceded by some slick hi-hat work. "Death Machine" is the right foundation to start building this release upon. It is a strong opening track.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

So after 6:37, you get to the rest of this CD, which consists of 3 tracks of similar style to track one. The difference I hear in this band, that makes them stand out, is that they sound like they have musical training. They have a sense of phrasing their riffs so that it sounds pleasing to the ear.

They are able to expand the thrash genre, not just paying homage to bands like Exodus or Testament here. There are individual characteristics of this band that make them stand out. The drummer doesn't rely on a rumbling of double-bass to establish his sound. The guitarists work together and sound like they actually composed their parts instead of flying-by-the-seat-of-their-pants. The vocalist, while not really 'singing' all the time, is not annoying. And that's enough for me.

The last track is a short 1:31 acoustic track, called "Epilogue." I have a problem with thrash and rock bands including short acoustic tracks at the end of their releases because they seem tacked on and presented as evidence that the guitarist has some skill. Some bands, like Disarray's "Life is Gone" are successful because they carry forward the theme of their CD into a different 'voice' (the acoustic guitar).

I've heard a lot of these short metal band promos. I have to say that this From Beyond release stands out with my other favorite short metal band promos like Grain and the Gooseflesh EP.

Rating: B

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© 2003 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Painkiller Records, and is used for informational purposes only.