Sound — 8
This is by far the best new band I have come across and I can't wait to see what else they can dish out. The impressive interplay of light and dark themes throughout the "Monument" both inspire the mind and chill the spine. The guitar lines shift back and forth between atmospheric and crushing textures, the bass lines thunder, and the drumming is just outright impressive. The Meshuggah-esque polyrhythmic structures perfectly off-set the mechanical, chugging and slab-like guitars to show so much more humanity than the usual formulaic, metalcore structure of most recent bands. Forgoing the interruption of breakdowns, Benea Reach demonstrates the power of their Sludge Metal-esque songwriting without being tied down to the grittier style of that particular genre, leaving room for expansion. Melancholic overtones lace this album and intertwine with bursts of raw energy to create a truly awe-inspiring experience. Not an album for the faint hearted or inexperienced metalhead, but certainly far from the expectations of elitists who demand nothing but relentless brutality in a bored and unoriginal formula. "Monument" is relentless, not in it's pace, not in it's distortion but by building tension through repetitions that never seem to weary, until they finally burst with a flow of power that could only be created by the skilled and seasoned musicians that they are.
Lyrics — 8
Of course, the most standout feature of the album is Ilkka's vocals which alternate between high Euro Hardcore shrieks and surprisingly deep Blackened-Death growls. The only detraction is the lack of lyrics from the liner notes which would, for the most part, come in handy.
Overall Impression — 10
Labelling this band metalcore seems almost ignorant and comparing them to Mastodon and Meshuggah in terms of creativity is more of an understatement. Ground Slayer opens up the album masterfully, sucking you in and the following track, Inheritor digs it's hooks into you to make sure you stay. However it is the powerful composition, River that most definately one Benea Reach the nomination for the 35th annual Spellamnsprisn. Unfortunately it's probably the metaphysical musings of Conflux, the 11 minute chug fest of Venerate and the dark ambient closer, Drapery, not to mention the hour and seven minutes it takes to listen to the album that puts off many listeners. Though I, personally, wouldn't have it any other way.