Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beecher - 2003 Breaking The Fourth Wall (Re-issue)

Band : Beecher
Album : Breaking The Fourth Wall (Re-issue)
Release Year : 2003
Genre : Hardcore | Mathcore | Experimental

Tracklist :
1. Arrows Flies
2. Burning Surfaces
3. Dead for Weeks
4. Floating Point
5. Let Them Drown
6. Mercury Switch
7. Red Diesel
8. The Only One I Know
09. Cabin Boy Jumped Ship
10. An Important Letter
11. Ladder Theory
12. Crack Friend
13. Let Them Drown (Live)
14. An Important Letter (Live)
15. Arrow Flies (Live)
16. Red Diesel (Live)
17. Dead For Weeks (Lard Lubber Edit)

It's not often you find a non-prog act using guitar and bass synthesizers. But then again, it's not often you hear a band like Beecher. Originally released in 2003, Breaking The Fourth Wall is being reissued by Earache in an attempt to garner a wider and more deserving fanbase for a U.K. band with nimble fingers an impeccable ear for songwriting.

Wow, this is a lot different than I remembered. I originally heard this back when it came out, and remembered it sounding like a Cult of Luna/Isis thing. I'm not sure it's possible I could've been any more wrong. They're one of the many bands to embrace the production of Kurt Ballou (Converge, Old Man Gloom, American Nightmare), and if that doesn't tell you a little bit about their sound, I'll do the courtesy of mapping it out. Ranging anywhere from chaotic/metallic hardcore, to prog/jazz, to swelling ambience, Beecher have concentrated their collective efforts into creating something that can honestly be referred to as unique. Usually sticking to a typical screeching and spastic yell, there's melodic and sincere singing of all sorts throughout Breaking The Fourth Wall. While it's sort of poppier and almost...emo, I can assure you, it's not the same obnoxious vocals you're used to from the plethora of MTV2 acts that have penetrated our radios. It's more along the lines of Cave In. Although the general feel of the release is probably that of Converge mixed with Refused, there's elements of so many styles, whether it's noisy and wandering, or the straightforward riffing that brings The Hope Conspiracy to mind. Their ability to go from peaceful to livid is so pronounced on songs like "The Only One I Know", going from a subdued melodic passage with delay to direct and dirty sounding hardcore, flawlessly and without hesitation. One interesting tidbit is that DJ Speedranch (Best known for his work with James Plotkin and Dave Witte in Phantomsmasher and his work with Venetian Snares) also apparently does vocals on a few of the tracks, which almost certainly contributes to the band's experimentation into noise and electronics on "Floating Point". Later, "Red Diesel" bursts into an intense flurry of dissonance that rivals the talents of Watchmaker and goes off to riffing over noise and samples before making the return to the original sound. The solemn and almost spiritual starting piece of "Ladder Theory" is one of the more beautiful compositions on the album before erupting into another one of Beecher's thunderous rampages.

I'm so glad Earache reissued this, as otherwise I probably would've never have gotten around to hearing this again. Given how much I'm enjoying this, that'd be a certain tragedy. I'm just kicking myself for not catching on sooner. Recommended to anyone who finds themselves excited over the manic technicality of Converge, the honest approach of Planes Mistaken For Stars, or the DIY style of bands on Level Plane. Breaking The Fourth Wall is as clever as it is catchy, and as talented as it is well-written. I'm telling you, go out and grab this, unless you absolutely can't stand clean singing or hate technical/mathy metalcore/hardcore/whatever you want to call it. One of the brighter releases in a while, Beecher show more promise and potential in their first full-length than most bands do in their entire lifetime. -Drew Ailes

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