Insect Song

Beyond the Embrace

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Insect Song Review

by William York

Beyond the Embrace's second album, Insect Song, starts off promisingly enough with "Fleshengine Breakdown," which comes off like a cross between To Ride, Shoot Straight...-era Entombed and a couple of Phil Anselmo's bands, Pantera and Down. The song has a combination of thrashy heaviness and bluesy Southern rock tendencies, and lead singer Shawn Gallagher's vocals shift deftly from screaming to deep-voiced, melodic singing in a way that's similar -- almost too similar -- to Anselmo. The Anselmo comparison holds true vocally for the rest of the album, although subsequent tracks find the band broadening their range to include Gothenburg-style Swedish death metal riffs and, more and more as the album goes on, generous helpings of generic, radio-ready hard rock that brings to mind mid-'90s Metallica -- and not in a good way (if it is indeed possible for one to be reminded of mid-'90s Metallica in a good way). BTE are kind of a hard band to get a handle on: one minute, they'll sound like Lamb of God, the next like early In Flames, and then the next minute like some generic, grunge-influenced, late-'90s hard rock band. Regardless, they have put together a well-crafted album here with lots of potential crossover appeal for lapsed Metallica and Pantera fans, viewers of the revived MTV Headbangers' Ball, and open-minded Ozzfest goers.

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