Fans of the instrumental metal band Behold the Arctopus will be rejoicing when they hear this brand new CD from Direwolf called Beyond the Lands of Human Existence, which is basically the one-man project from BtO guitarist Mike Lerner. If you can imagine what BtO would sound like with vocals, then mix in some Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend, Spastik Ink, Emperor, and perhaps Cynic, then you have a good idea where Lerner is coming from on this zany sci-fi themed release. It's utterly insane, crazy technical, heavy, yet progressive, as layers of intricate guitar riffs, warped solos, speed of light keyboards, manic programmed drums, and a myriad of vocal styles, clean, growled, and processed, hit you from every angle.
While at times the feel is very much black metal ala Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Bal-Sagoth, or Old Man's Child (mainly due to the screeching/growled vocals and use of the keyboards), for the most part this is highly complex progressive metal with a bizarre twist. In fact, if you love Devin Townsend's solo work and are lamenting the fact that he has decided to break up Strapping Young Lad for good, Beyond the Lands of Human Existence will be a must listen for you. Lerner creates plenty of bombast and lunacy here, the weaving frenzy of "World War IV" kicking things off with intense guitar passages, blazing drum programming, keys, and all sorts of vocals, clean and aggressive. He even throws in some atmospheric acoustic guitar sections in to add to the variety factory. "1,000,000 Enemies (Mercury's Disaster)" is pure symphonic black metal with a sci-fi twist, with blazing drum blasts (hard to believe these are all programmed drums), dizzying guitar riffs, and harsh, screeching vocals. The three part "The Prophet Failed" really hits on the Bal-Sagoth influence, but ups the ante on the technical front. Featuring crisp, heavy guitar riffs, vocals that range from narrated, venemous growling, to heavily processed, whirlwind guitar solos, orchestral keyboards, and complex drum patterns, this is one futuristic metal ride.
Beyond the Lands of Human Existence is ultimately a very dense and adventurous release from a guy who obviously has a lot of musical ideas floating around in his head. It's hard to imagine that Lerner had something like this up his sleeve considering the highly complex music he helps create in Behold the Arctopus, but it seems there is no shortage of ideas where he is concerned. This is intense, highly complex, and crushingly heavy at times, and will be a must hear for fans of intricate extreme metal.
1 World War IV
2 Beyond The Lands Of Human Existence
3 1,000,000 Enemies (Mercury's Disaster)
4 Murder The Creatures Who Inhabit The Black Sun
5 Final Flight
6 The Prophet Failed pt 1: Confession
7 The Prophet Failed pt 2: Lamentation
8 The Prophet Failed pt 3: Departure