Dubbed as melodic death metal, Boston-based Beyond The Sixth Seal was formed as a thrash metal band in 1998. The founding members Brendan Roche and Justin Chapell amalgamated both black and death metal influences and kept moving forward.
The band was joined by The Red Chord's Adam Wentworth in the summer of 2000. An EP dubbed A Homicide Divine was recorded for 2001. Shows on both side of the Atlantic followed.
At this time, Wentworth switches from bass to guitar while guitarist Rob Devlin and singer Lawrence Kwong left the fold. Only a while later American Nightmare's Matt Woods (bass) and The Red Chord's Mike McKenzie (vocals) were ushered in. Earth And Sphere was issued in November of 2002. The band’s second album was released through Metal Blade - The Red Chord’s label - at the end of 2007. The group was officially a studio project with no shows planned and no guitarists.
BEYOND THE SIXTH SEAL - EARTH AND SPHERE - LIFEFORCE
It is true that upon first listening to Earth And Sphere, the listener could be forgiven for thinking Beyond The Sixth Seal is a Swedish band from Gothenburg. Special allowance is made because the American quintet is little known. Having said that, music travels fast and this particular style is not confined to one corner of the planet any longer. See bands like Poland's Enter Chaos or Mexico's Buried Dreams for instance. So, yes this particularly energetic bunch do have a certain At The Gates and Dark Tranquillity feel, but they do offer a variation on the theme. The vocalist roars with conviction and the music swings between the melodic and the grating. Experimentations exist, but are thankfully uncommon. The lyrics are completely abstract and vague in purpose - just like the band's and album's names. To insure maximum effect, the album closes with (yet another) hidden track which breaks the mould by blasting to oblivion and back. Prepare yourself for this one. - Ali "The Metallian"
BEYOND THE SIXTH SEAL - THE RESURRECTION OF EVERYTHING TOUGH - METAL BLADE
“Featuring Mike McKenzie & Greg Weeks From The Red Chord” we are reminded courtesy of the sticker on the CD’s cover, which could create some ambivalence for The Red Chord has many detractors and also the fact that Beyond The Sixth Seal has little to do musically with its bigger bother - perhaps other than being heavy or non-mainstream overall.
So, if this is not metalcore and not The Red Chord, what is it? Well, those debuting on Metal Bladers here are a surprising mix of hard and heavy rock music with a deep growl. The vocals style might, at first conceptually, be out of place with the musical style and pace, but one way or another ends up fitting right in. I cannot explain it. The music touches upon more extreme metal facets, but is essentially a mix of Corrosion Of Conformity and Sentenced. Speaking of which, the downbeat and moody delivery can get doomy often, but then the speed picks up and the growls kick in. Odd for a bunch of former hardcore, kids? Well, maybe not. After all, see Corrosion Of Conformity for a similar transition.
The band had been dormant for several years prior to The Resurrection Of Everything Tough, but perhaps it is time for it to get serious again. After all, metalcore is dead and so is Sentenced. - Anna Tergel