Album Review: Beyond the Shore, "The Arctic Front"

About a month ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew from “Beyond the Shore.” This is a band that blurs the boundaries between Christian rock and hardcore metal. Talking with Andrew was great. During that conversation we talked about their coming album, The Arctic Front. The album is now available through youtube and iTunes. Following up with the band, I was excited to sit down and take in the new album. Here are my thoughts as I listened to it.

The album begins with the title track, “The Arctic Front.” The songs sets the stage for the rest of the album with driving drums, screamo vocals and sweet guitars. I hear elements of many great metal bands. The transitions maintain the power of the song seamlessly. The running guitar part starting around the 2:20 mark is smooth and fast and leads to a winding down end of the song. Good stuff!

“The Higher.” Quick and brutal vocals highlight this number. The lyrics are also great here, grabbing me with, “Upon us now, a land of fire and ice. With an eye for deceit and a heart of piracy. A burning essence, a sacred burial. For the call for blood was too great.”

“Shotgun Sunrise.” Once again we get a fast and brutal start that never lets up. Growling, screaming vocals over top of smooth guitars with escalating complexity. The song hits a plateau in the middle, which turns out to be the calm before the storm. From there the explosion continues and chaos reigns.

“Thrown to the Sharks.” This song actually takes it’s time (20 seconds) to get going. From there, the fury continues. I particularly like the transition lyrics, “Thrown to the waves, humanity has brought this land to its ruins…..the blood leaks in. Thrown to the sharks.” The song also has some ‘singing’ as opposed to just screaming… that runs it’s course and the screaming continues.

“Order of Oceans.” Beginning with a nice guitar lead in and some melodic moments and then building to climax, this is a balanced song. The guitars remain hard and strong, but are perhaps the most complex and intricate of any song on the album. I really love the guitar breakdown around the 2:30 mark.

“Descendants.” At 1:19, this is the shortest song on the album. It is entirely instrumental and calming (compared to the rest of the album at least). It feels like coming up for a quick breath while swimming. It really provides balance to the album and puts a nice wrapping on the package that is ‘The Arctic Front.’ This is a well- timed song, well designed and well conceived. It is a fitting end to this hour of great metal.

Having only heard a couple of songs by this band before hearing this album, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was very happy I had the chance to give this a listen. The trademark elements of metal are definitely here, but there is more to it than that. This is not just six great songs. As most great albums are, it is an exercise of the mind, taking the listener on a journey that includes a buildup, climax and resolution. The album appeals to both the metal- head in me and the artist in me.

I give this album three guns. I recommend it to any hard rock or metal fan. Maybe most importantly, this was not the last time I’ll be listening to this album. I’ll be looking forward to taking this journey again soon.

Beyond the Shore is a friend of the continuum. Stay tuned for more from them in the future, here as always.


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