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Beyond The Ninth Wave - Volume I Review

If Only There Wasn't A Vocal Track...
Posted Friday, January 16, 2008

Beyond The Ninth Wave is a Black Metal group from Canada Volume 1 is their 2005 full-length debut featuring forty odd minutes across seven songs, limited to 1,000 copies. Seven painful songs, I might add. I picked this CD up from The End Records a while back for $11.49. Really, this one ended up at my house for a couple of reasons: First, I’m a sucker for limited edition runs. Always have been. Even if I have reason to believe that the “limited edition” status is more an inability to sell more albums even if they were available. Secondly, I have a really bad habit of trying new music, even if I really don’t have any reason to believe that it is going to be worthwhile. Again, probably a personal flaw of some kind.


Either way, Volume 1 arrived quickly from The End Records, as is their usual way of doing business, and I had it for my listening pleasure. Or what I had assumed incorrectly to be for my listening pleasure, because it really isn’t very good. Or at least not good enough to recommend to friends – Maybe to enemies. The problem isn’t apparent at the very beginning. The album starts off as competently enough with cold winds blowing and wolves howling their forlorn cries to the dark night, the music starts and everything is going fine, and then, the vocals hit. Painful is the only word that immediately springs to mind to describe the vocals featured on this CD. They are simply bad. They really sound more like cats being tortured in a small bathroom recorded on an old hand held tape recorder than proper vocals, and they ruin what is otherwise a solid, if a bit low-fi effort.


Musically, Beyond The Ninth Wave is very competent. Recording quality is on the low-fi side, but not any worse than most of the music recorded in the notoriously low-fi black metal genre. Interestingly, although low-fi, they seem to be able to avoid the muddled ball of noise issue that often plagues low-fi black metal albums, that is when all the instruments blend together into a loud buzzing sound. I was able to hear nice separation in instrumentation through the entire album, which makes the disappointing vocal sound all that much more disappointing. Well, maybe next time.

In summation, Beyond The Ninth Wave’s Volume I is a competent musical effort, held back by inexplicably bad vocals. There are some that may find this not to be an issue for them. There are probably some that will really enjoy the vocal style on the album. I do not fall into either of those camps, and since this is my review, I will grade it accordingly. I would certainly try to sample this album before purchasing, in light of the vocal style, unless you are a big fan of screamed, high pitch, somewhat death, I hesitate to use the word “growls” because it wasn’t really so much that. It wasn’t for me, whatever it was, and was enough to turn me off from an otherwise competent release.

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