“Live To Fight”

By Dr. Abner Mality

After what seems like an eternity, here’s the sophomore release from Midwest favorites Beyond Threshold. I have literally seen this band grow up. After starting as teenaged terrors Powertrip, they’ve slowly grown into a regional powerhouse on the verge of a major breakout.  Will “Live To Fight” do the trick for them?

This should definitely continue their forward trajectory. The band has always been a mish-mash of metal stylings and genre and that’s more evident than ever here. There’s traces of thrash, hardcore, Pantera/Lamb of God groove, metalcore melody and even the dreaded nu-metal stomp. When melted down and forged together, it comes out as straight heavy metal, so let’s treat it that way. The production here is much rawer than the debut “Who We Are” and vocalist Erik Virgen unleashes even more of his trademark throat-ripping screams. Those whose metal taste stopped around 1989 can pass this by, but it’s their loss.  Tunes like “Purify”, “Synergy” and “End of Days” rip with a lot of speed and aggression. “That Glam Song” starts off like a lost Crue or WASP tune, but turns into something more modern by the end. “Subsick” is pretty much down tuned nu-metal stomp while “Solitude” is very catchy and not lacking melody. Thumbs up to the lead guitar work of Todd Paluzzi, which neatly straddles the line between old school guitar heroics and metalcore licks. The album flows pretty well as a whole and keeps the energy level high.

Is it perfect? No. I got pretty tired of the ragged screams by the end of the album and some of the clean vocals sound awkward.  It sounds like Beyond Threshold is on the verge of a completely unique identity but not quite there yet. Still, the album is an advance on “Who We Are” and it more faithfully captures their live energy.  A successful second effort.