Benea Reach

Monument Bineothan

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When Norwegian guitarist Christer Espevoll left Extol, metalheads knew he would resurface somewhere -- they didn't know where exactly, but they knew it was safe to assume he would resurface in another Scandinavian metal band. And sure enough, Espevoll ended up in Benea Reach, whose first full-length album, Monument Bineothan, can easily be described as extreme metal but doesn't fit neatly into one particular area of extreme metal. Monument Bineothan (which was released by Tuba Records in Scandinavia and by Candlelight in the United States) owes a lot to metalcore, although it isn't straight-ahead metalcore in the familiar Hatebreed/Brick Bath/Throwdown sense. Stylistically, Benea Reach are closer to the more experimental or technical metalcore bands and to math metal, drawing on influences like the Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon, and Meshuggah. Elements of Nordic death metal and Nordic black metal assert themselves, and one also hears traces of alternative metal favorites Tool and occasional hints of doom metal. Put all of these things together, and you have a band that is usually punishing, confrontational, and ultra-abrasive but is not without nuance; although this CD goes for the jugular more often than not, Monument Bineothan also has some reflective and darkly atmospheric moments. Much of the time, Benea's mixture of viciousness and nuance (with viciousness usually winning out) works, which is not to say that it works all the time. This is an uneven disc, although Benea run with the ball more often than they drop the ball -- and while Monument Bineothan could have been more consistent, it is at least noteworthy if one is interested in extreme metal, math metal, and technical metalcore.

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