From Beyond - The Color Out Of Space (EP) (2012)


It seems so wrong that some of the best bands are also some of the most prolific. Not only do they take more than their fair share from the talent pool, but they manage to continually churn out new and excellent material every few months. When From Beyond released their first offering midway through this year, it quickly became a favorite of fans and critics alike. Only six months later, then, how is it that they have met, nay, exceeded expectations with their second release, the four track, thirty minute mind trip known as "The Color Out Of Space"? Is it possible that somewhere in a cave in Houston, these three individuals are spinning witches brew in a cauldron? Or is this merely a reason for us to eb thankful the world hasn't ended? Either way, mission accomplished.

Picking up right where their groove trip left off, the opening riff on "Hexagram" is enough to get the blood flowing. The down home, southern blues tones are omnipresent, giving the entire mix a special depth. It is in all of the small touches that the track finds its strength, though, with every light tapping of a cymbal ringing true to your ears. And as things progress, the slow paced, soulful vocal delivery gives way to a higher tempo instrumental, led by a tremendous bass line and some o the more intricately conceived fretwork the band has to offer. Without belaboring a point, it is hard to truly capture how important drummer Dick Beeman's contributions are to every track. His booming kick has a sound that simply elevates everything around it, something that is as plain as the nose on your face on "At Midnight (I'll Steal Your Soul)." With a catchy hook to solidify the track, the band can go off on tangents without ever straying completely from the path. As the track bend and sways, it evolves into a complex piece of psychedelia, anchored by a constant bass presence. The overall atmospheric quality here would stand on its own, but a sinister laugh to end the track will certainly stay with you for some time.

With an intro that sounds like the classic "big finish" of a live show, "The Dead Still Ride" is a huge departure from the previous two tracks, going for an upbeat assault on your senses. In the high energy three minutes, the band bring a smooth intensity to their sound, maintaining their restrained but unbridled passion for heavy grooves. But following such a short, sweet track is a monster lurking. The nearly fifteen minute title track is a massive undertaking in and of itself. With an opening drum beat that may have you thinking an "Iron Man" cover is emerging, this is the true psychedelic doom material you may have closely associated with this three piece. All of the tiny imperfections in the mix form a beautifully flawed mass, one that suits the band and the track to perfection. By no means in this an indictment of the musicianship, or suggesting in any way that the cloudiness of the production is masking anything; instead, it helps to spotlight exactly how detailed and minute some of the pieces can be. So much so, in fact, that when the track completely fades out and leaves Beeman and company to rebuild from scratch, you get a chance to fully appreciated every level, every layer of instrumentation and distortion. It's like seeing all the ingredients come together before you can eat the cake.

When the Mayan calendar predicted our doom on December 21, 2012, they couldn't possibly have known that they would be depriving us of the wonders of a new From Beyond EP. I would go as far as to say this disc may have staved off the end of the world with its profound psychedelic grooves and heavy, doomed inspired guitars. They stay true to those who came before, while still putting a progressive, modern spin on the formula. Every element is as important as the others, which creates a delicate balance each and every step of the way. Even more impressive, though, is the versatility on display here. With great musical talent, brilliant songwriting, and an ability to change and adapt, it would seem that From Beyond will be keeping the world spinning for a long time to come. Take that, Mayans.

9/10

Bandcamp - http://musicfrombeyond.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/FromBeyondBand