These Beasts are a Chicago area metal group that have been working hard. All three members have been in a variety of bands over the years, playing shows here and there. However, in the last couple of years These Beasts as we know it today assembled. And, their latest self-titled release is the culmination of their work, determination and musical talent.
Something About “Noise-Groove”
Before I get into my opinion on the record, I want to discuss their sound a little. If you aren’t a music nerd, you can skip this part because I’m literally going to describe what I think the label “noise-groove” means.
Before I listened to These Beasts, I had no idea what this label meant. When I saw it in an email from the record company, I thought that it was a weird way to classify a band. The word “noise” is almost off putting, but it actually makes a lot of sense when you get into their music.
According to the record company, These Beasts is a noise-groove band, but what does that mean? On one hand, this means their music is angry and stocked full of loud, abrasive sounds that have been master by expert engineers. But at their core, These Beasts are a metal band. So, there aren’t any random shrill electronic beats or weird gimmicky sounds mixed in with their guitars. The “groove” portion of the label may be more familiar to you. It has been championed by numerous bands, such as Pantera. More or less, this just means the band’s music has a defined groove that you can feel when you listen to it…and this is one of the things I love about These Beasts. They make speedy music, but its still groovy.
These Beasts clocks in at twenty-eight minutes, according to iTunes. This short album (or is it an EP?) has enough runtime to introduce the band, let them show off their skills and wow the audience without putting them off. After all, noise-groove isn’t super accessible for the casual listener.
On the musical front, These Beasts is a mix of clean vocals with screams and loud riffs with groovy drum fills. All of the songs are cranked up and ripe with gritty texture. Something that stood out to me was the prominence of Todd Fabian’s bass guitar. Not enough bands introduce songs with their bass player slapping away. Of course, this fits with the dark, gritty theme of the album, but the band could have gone with something more typical, such as a throaty guitar riff. For example, “Impugn” has a bass riff right off the bat, before the rest of the band enters with a bang.
My biggest complaint with the album isn’t necessarily a complaint. I feel this is almost an unfair critique, because it rests completely on my personal taste. However, perhaps it’s worth mentioning as an observation. I prefer when bands mix clean and unclean vocals. I don’t just like albums stacked with songs that only feature screaming, nor do I like when there is a complete lack of screaming. The mixing, in my opinion, adds another layer to the music. These Beasts does not feature many clean vocals, rather it is mostly unclean, screaming vocals.
Songs Worth Investigating
After listening to These Beasts a few times, “End of the Whip” is probably my favorite. It’s a lighter song and it has some clean vocals that have been rattling around in my head at work for the last week. Also, I really enjoyed the overall feel and structure of “Impugn”, plus it has that bass riff I mentioned above.
…And To Conclude
Overall, These Beasts is a good mini-album. The shorter run-time gives the listener a good taste of the band and what they’re about. The biggest “flaw”, again this is a personal thing, was the limited clean vocals. I prefer bands to mix screaming and clean vocals, rather than stick to one or the other. There were many more positive things going on with These Beasts than my silly complaint. The heavy and chaotic nature of the music is very satisfying and should be enjoyed by metalheads. The riffs and the instruments were all dark and gritty, as were the vocals. These Beasts latest effort definitely shows their talent and determination to mark their name as a staple in this intriguing genre.