Beyond the Threshold of Death
Independent/Ibex Moon Records (Reissue)
Lifeless‘ debut album, Beyond the Threshold of Death was originally self-released by the band in June 2008, yet within 2 years this album has been reissued by Ibex Moon Records, home also to numerous other prominent death metal acts such as Incantation and Master.
Intro opens the album with an ominous feeling, with the haunting orchestral composition in the background, and marching and gunfire accompanying the music before martial drums come into the picture, setting a bleak outlook on the experience that is to come. As the spoken vocals talk of how the bodies from the battle are to be handled, the commander announces that they would be Entombed in Unknown Graves, before breaking into a doom paced riff.
At times, Marc’s vocals are layered, providing an effect as if there are multiple vocalists present, enhancing the overall atmosphere of the music, such as on The Final Sacrifice. On top of the old school death metal riffs that are often present on the album, songs such as Retaliation display the melodic side of the band, with a melodic guitar line accompanying the chaos that is brought forth by the rest of the rhythmic section. The band also displays their ability to switch styles instantaneously in the middle of the track with a sudden shift into a full on old school death metal section for a moment, before going back to the melodic style that was introduced at the beginning. It is songs such as these that bring out the mood and emotions of the music, in contrast to the face-ripping tracks such as Seed of Hatred. Also, while the soaring lead guitars and solos on the tracks sound as if they come out of neo-classical metal songs, they surprisingly fit well into the songs and are not overused.
The theme of death and warfare carries on throughout the album with the sound effects utilised in the background such as on The Final Sacrifice, with the sound of explosions towards the middle of the track. Additionally, one quirky thing about the album is the mix and the tuning of the drums, at times sounding like a machine gun being fired rapidly, and drummer Daniel certainly makes use of this to full effect. While this could be an interesting touch to the overall experience of the album, it could very well get on the nerves of some, causing the experience for them to slightly falter. Fortunately though, on the full on blast beats this does not come in as overly obnoxious, so personally this is hardly a factor that pulls the album down.
The cover of Dismember‘s Casket Garden (included as the bonus track for the reissue) displays a prominent difference in production quality, with a more dirty and rawer production, staying true to the originals (even the drums are tuned differently, without that gunfire effect present on the band’s originals), executed with such flair that it leaves the listener wanting more.
The band claims to stay true to their roots, even having the words “traditional death metal” incorporated in most of their artworks. Beyond the Threshold of Death certainly displays the band living up to their claim, and was certainly an enjoyable listen.