BEYOND GOD – THE GREAT DIVIDE
RELEASE: December 8th, 2023
AUTHOR: Benedetta Baldin
05. The Great Divide
06. A Sirens Cry
08. The Elder Tree
10. After Love Ends
I am a huge lover of metal, but the subgenre that I mainly adore and listen to is definitely the symphonic one. Not just because it was and it is my first love, but because I think that is one of the subgenres that is so versatile, that it blends perfectly with so many others. And so, this review will be focused on a symphonic metal album, directly from the home of so many incredible symphonic metal acts which is The Netherlands.
BEYOND GOD‘s latest offering, “The Great Divide,” is the fourth full-length of the group, four years after their last one. And, to start off, this album is a symphonic metal journey that has impeccable production, mastering and mixing. The technical aspects of the album are undoubtedly its strength, creating a deep layer from the voice to the rhythmic section that envelops the listener in a rich and immersive experience.
Throughout the whole listening, I was in awe because each instrument as well as the voice were very balanced, so crystal clear and yet so cohesive. This shows that BEYOND GOD has put a lot of thought and effort in delivering us a product that has passion as well as quality. It is so much easier for reviewers like me to provide a detailed summary of records that are so well-prepared.
Sadly, I think that the album, however, falls short in the realm of originality, particularly in composition and melodies. While the craftsmanship is evident, the songs tend to tread familiar ground, lacking the innovative spark that sets memorable albums apart. Most of the times, I felt like I was listening to sounds that were created with much too similarity to other notable symphonic metal bands.
The symphonic metal genre is one known for its grandiosity and sweeping arrangements, and although BEYOND GOD captures these elements skillfully, they often feel formulaic. This is quite unfortunate, because they certainly have the capability and the talent of shaping art without the need of copying somebody else.
One notable aspect that could have set “The Great Divide“ apart is the band’s incorporation of influences from other metal subgenres. There are some hints of harsh vocals in “Frostbite”, some melodic elements in “The Great Divide”, and even a metalcore touch in “A Siren’s Cry”. It is always extraordinary when bands are not afraid to add more to their sound, but it has to be done in the right way.
While the intention to diversify their sound is commendable, the execution leaves something to be desired. Personally, I think that the transitions between these influences and the symphonic elements feel somewhat disjointed, failing to seamlessly integrate into a cohesive whole. While there is a huge praise to the group for trying to include a fusion of styles, the execution falls short of creating a truly compelling synthesis.
All was saved in the end, though, because the band redeemed themselves with the outstanding ballad “The Elder Tree”. You will have to be patient a little bit more before enjoying it, but trust me, it will be very much worth the wait. This is what I meant when I said that this group has skills and talent flowing in large quantities!
Every band is capable of shaping a track with heavy guitars, huge orchestrations and massive sound, but not so many are also able to touch the deepest space inside the listener, and we must praise BEYOND GOD for this.
Despite these minor critiques, it’s crucial to acknowledge the strengths of the album. The musicianship is undeniably solid, with each member of BEYOND GOD demonstrating technical proficiency in their respective roles. Meryl Foreman can do so much with her vocals, let’s hope that the group will push the abilities of this wonderful singer even further. The symphonic elements, when taken in isolation, shine brilliantly and showcase the band’s ability to craft lush and evocative sounds.Mariusz Krawitowski‘s intricate and emotive guitar work weaves through the songs, adding layers of melodic complexity in each note. His skillful use of sounds creates a dynamic and rich tapestry that enhances the symphonic elements even more. Dennis Winkel, with his masterful command over the bass, provides a solid foundation to the album’s rhythm section. His basslines are not merely supportive but contribute a distinctive groove and a sense of unity to each track, while they sometimes are hidden in the mix. Ferry Guns, handling both drums and orchestrations, brings a unique flair to the album’s arrangements. His rhythmic precision and creativity behind the drum kit, coupled with his keen sense of orchestration, elevate the album to a higher level. The seamless integration of these three musicians’ talents results in a cohesive and immersive journey for our ears, where every note, beat and orchestral element serves a purpose, making their collective contribution an indispensable aspect of the album’s artistic success.
In conclusion, “The Great Divide“ by BEYOND GOD is a well-produced symphonic metal album that, unfortunately, doesn’t quite break new ground in terms of composition and melodies. While the band’s attempt to incorporate influences from other metal subgenres adds an interesting layer, the execution doesn’t create a seamless and engaging integration. Despite these shortcomings, fans of the symphonic metal genre may still find enjoyment in the album’s polished and immersive sonic experience.