Canadian progressive death metal outfit Beyond Creation burst onto the scene with their debut album ‘The Aura’ in 2011. The debut album immediately brought the band into the upper ranks of modern death metal with elaborate song structures and a level of musicianship that is hard to find anywhere else in the genre. Now the Canadians follow up with their second full-length album ‘Earthborn Evolution’.

The album starts with ‘Elusive Psychological Reverence’, a song that features all the trademarks of Beyond Creation’s sound that made their debut so successful. A firework of riffs is unleashed ranging from blackened death metal to single note picking and thrash metal influenced riffing. All that is combined with sweeping guitar melodies and hook lines while the overall presentation of the song stays heavy at all times. The bass lines are independent from the guitars and add to the melodies rather than just supporting the rhythmic structure of the song. The vocals of frontman Simon Girard are a little bit subdued in the overall sound leaving the string instruments more room to develop.

The second song ‘Sous La Lueur De L’Empereur’ then showcases Beyond Creation’s ability to take the foot off the pedal for the first time on this album. This is when the music clearly gets some jazz influences, a trait that is further explored on the following ‘Earthborn Evolution’. The title track is one of the outstanding highlights of the album. Vocals are used sparsely again leaving more room for the instrumental work to shine through.

The remaining seven songs on ‘Earthborn Evolution’ stay on the same high quality. The band understands it skilfully to combine the heaviness of death metal with melodies that neither sound cheesy nor drift into melodic death metal. A special mention deserves Dominik ‘Forest’ Lapointe on bass. The use of his six-string, fretless bass produces a sound that is unique in the metal world. His work is outstanding. The many solos and melodies he plays on ‘Earthbound Evolution’ are an integral part of Beyond Creation’s signature sound without crossing the border to meaningless wanking.

Beyond Creation follow up their strong debut with an extraordinary album. All songs are complex yet they stay approachable and memorable right from the first time of listening. The record is heavy, never aggressive or brutal, and melodic without falling into the trap that too many melodic death metal bands fall into, namely targeting mass audiences with watered down songs. It is rare to listen to an album that combines outstandingly gifted musicians with great compositions. Every note on this album makes sense, is there for a reason.

Bottom line is that Beyond Creation have released the strongest death metal album of the year and one of the strongest albums in the metal world overall. That is a big statement in a year that was blessed with so many high-quality albums. With ‘Earthborn Evolution’ Beyond Creation take their throne in the world of progressive death metal. Rightfully so. They are here to stay.

9.5 of 10