Sunday 6 March 2016

Station Twenty7 - “Beyond The Darkness” (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: Out Now
Label: Station Twenty7 Records

Before The Gates” lets you know exactly what you are in for; thrash metal, no more and no less- resolutely traditional but with strong production,  world class hooks and world class performances on display.

“Beyond The Darkness” CD//DD track listing:

1). Before the Gates
2). The Taxman
3). A Tyrants Lament
4). Hope Calling
5). Stations
6). The Plan
7). The Whisper
8). The Tides it Rises
9). Commeth The Man
10). The Loudest Voice

The Review:

Mark Beuchet formerly of Anihilated returns here with his new band, comprising of various thrash alumni. Given the pedigree of those involved, you would expect this to sound like well honed old school thrash... and you would be dead right! “Before The Gates” lets you know exactly what you are in for; thrash metal, no more and no less- resolutely traditional but with the kind of production that was well out of reach for thrash bands back in the day (the Big Four excepted).

“The Taxman” continues the sound; double tracked vocals, chugging guitars and some impressive hooks all coalesce to create a rip roaring and thrashing ride through the best aspects of the Brit-thrash sound. Truthfully, I have never fully investigated the back catalogues of Anihilated or Onslaught, for that matter, but I did own Slammer's debut on vinyl, if that assists with establishing old school credentials. Certainly, the Brits always got a raw deal, just by virtue of the fact that they were not American or German- and were thus seen as followers rather than leaders. Harsh, but that was/is the perception. It certainly does material of this quality a disservice, asA Tyrants Lament” demonstrates, there are world class hooks and world class performances on display here.

The album continues along at a fair rate- but isn't without a dynamic ebb and flow. “Hope Calling” is not pedal to the metal, for instance, and allows for something of a lull in the action. Indeed, it wouldn't be too far out of place on a Therapy? album. “Stations” fairly nails your head to the wall with its lovely half stepping riff. Jagged and angular, but not at high tempo, this is a good example of controlled force within the genre. “The Plan” takes us into the second half of the album with the BPM cranked up at choice moments. Similarly, “The Whisper” is fast and furious, but still with some melodic elements which reminded me of “Savage Messiah” and their ilk- thrash but with that grounding in trad that you would expect. “The Tide It Rises” affirms the band's deft use of dynamics and has a cool “speed up to finish” section at the close!

“Commeth The Man” packs a strong refrain and the vocal performance has some real bite to it- very well delivered. The hook and track has an almost Anthrax-esque feel to it, which is welcome, of course. The acoustic intro of “The Loudest Voice” makes for an atmospheric start to the closing track. Following this maudlin start, the track builds up with an atmosphere of melancholic leads and crashing chords.... before the band's engine chugs into life! The six minutes of this song closes the album strongly. Old school British thrash- this record makes a very strong case for it.

Beyond The Darkness” is available here

Band info: facebook