Friday, March 15, 2013

BEYOND THE SIXTH SEAL: The Relevant Material

This band has always remained somewhat of a mystery to me. Despite releasing potentially my favorite melodic metalcore EP of all time, I never really knew much of this band. In the past several months I've managed to piece together a somewhat full story on the band. Below is a combination of quoted and paraphrased material I've tracked down on various sites. Apologies if anyone is offended by me using their work.

"Boston's Beyond the Sixth Seal's roots began in 1998, when several friends who were tired of just playing guitar decided to become a full time band. After recruiting a rhythm section and vocalist, the band played a live show at a local college, and then recorded a 4-song record demo, "Genocide Empire," for about $100 dollars in their practice space. At this time, the band was only referred to as Legion, but the members were dissatisfied with the name. Legion would become Beyond the Sixth Seal after a name drawing out of a hat session. In 2000, the band would experience some line-up changes, recruiting a new guitarist, as well as a vocalist, before playing its first true show with Eternal Suffering and Breedinground. Another demo was recorded that year, and found its way to Germany's Voice of Life Records/Distro. In late-2000, BtSS would agree to release a CDEP on the label. "A Homicide Divine" would be released in early-2001, followed by a two-week stint in Germany that summer. Unfortunately, in early-2002, BtSS and their vocalist, Lawrence Kwong, would part ways and following a lengthy search, Mike McKenzie, of The Red Chord, would eventually join the band."

It appears as though not long after the departure of original vocalist, Lawrence Kwong, the band would also lose the services of guitarist Rob Devlin. Adam Wentworth, the bassist on the debut EP, would move up to rhythm guitar duties while a new bassist would be brought in the form of former American Nightmare member, Matt Woods. The band would record their follow-up full length entitled Earth And Sphere with this line-up and, in turn, would do a US tour with A Life Once Lost and On Broken Wings (which was originally supposed to make a stop at my venue, The Planet Of The Apes). This effort was initially set to be released in the US by Willowtip Records with Voice Of Life handling the European release once again. While the album would have fit in well at the time with the label's roster, I'm glad it didn't happen so that I can actually post the album without the guy who runs that label flagging my upload haha ... I digress.

It would not be long after this trek that yet another member of The Red Chord would be brought in to fill the vacant bass position left by Matt Woods. Greg Weeks went from being a "fill-in" bassist to permanent by the end of the year and the band went on a co-headlining tour of Europe with The Red Chord in 2003. It wouldn't be long after this that the band would decide to call it quits. Presumably this decision was spurred on by the heightening response that The Red Chord was receiving at the time.

For whatever reason, the "band" decided to reunite for another album in 2007. I say "band" because this time around the line-up would only consist of one original member in the form of drummer Brendan Roche along with the two Red Chord members Greg Weeks and Mike McKenzie. The album was entitled "The Resurrection Of Everything Tough" and featured an extremely un-funny gimmick about the band coming back as werewolves or something along those lines. The press release that is still featured on the Metal Blade Records site (because the band was now considered a "Red Chord side project") is wrought with mindless metal-humor rhetoric about things being "bad ass". While the album still has the remnants of some of the licks once found on their earlier releases, I'm not going to bother posting this as I'm sure Metal Blade would file a Copyrighted Material case against the upload. God knows they probably have a warehouse full of this album. I'm not sure I ever remember an album flopping as hard as this one.

Don't believe me? Watch this...

Those of you who read the blog know I'm typically not very critical of the bands I post about. In this case, however, I choose to vent on an issue that tends to replay throughout the history of metal and hardcore. A member or two of a band deciding to keep things going way past it's time ... and, in fact, even going as far to reform the band despite having zero connection to the original intent of the band. I get wanting to "just have fun with" a project (which is what these guys were obviously doing) ... but then I ask what the point is in using the name of the former project which obviously once meant something to the original members. I'll never get it but I'll also stop whining.

In summary, this band released one of my favorite EP's of all time. The follow-up full length wasn't too bad either despite some member changes. Somewhere along the line the band turned into a joke side project. It's a shame but shit happens. At least the original line-up put their efforts to tape before disbanding. In fact, I actually own a re-released version of the EP which features a "bonus" fifth song entitled Drawn From Autumn. It's sick.

I would be extremely excited if anyone would be kind enough to contact me to share Mp3s of ANY of their three original demos (one was released under the name Legion). I would be eternal grateful to have an opportunity to hear more material pieced together by the original, legitimate line-up of this band.


1 comment:

Justin Chappell said...

Just decided to see what was on the interwebs about my old band and came across this review. I f you want I can try to make a copy of the 2000 demo that is more black metal stuff that we were into.

Justin Chappell. Founding member,rytham guitar.