Beneath the Massacre

Maree Noire

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Evidently, the members of Canadian technical death metal band Beneath the Massacre have been thinking about environmental concerns and British Petroleum's rape of the Gulf of Mexico. Maree Noire means "Oil Slick" in French, and the song titles on this five-track EP include "Drill Baby Drill" and "Black Tide." It's safe to assume that these tunes weren't exactly written to praise BP's former CEO Tony Hayward. But then, listeners will only have the song titles to go on because (1) there is no lyric sheet, and (2) lead singer Elliot Desgagn├ęs' deep, guttural Cookie Monster growling vocals render the lyrics difficult or impossible to understand. And when all is said and done, Maree Noire is mainly about extreme, brutal exhilaration -- not getting a political message across. Maree Noire is also an exercise in technicality. Beneath the Massacre thrive on angular, highly technical playing, and the math metal factor is quite high on this EP. In its own darkly cartoonish way, Maree Noire is an exercise in virtuosity. Maree Noire is an exercise in bombast, yes, but it is also an exercise in virtuosity -- and the fact is that Beneath the Massacre's members wouldn't be able to pull off material this technical if they didn't know their way around their instruments. But technical prowess alone doesn't make for great listening. Maree Noire is a chopsfest, although not a terribly memorable one. This 2010 release probably would have been more interesting if the listener were better able to understand the lyrics. Beneath the Massacre appear to be addressing some important subject matter, but having something important to say doesn't mean a whole lot if the listener can't make out the words.

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