The Band From Beyond by From BeyondRelease date: May 11, 2018
Label: Candlelight Records / UMG
Austin’s Sci-Fi stoner rockers From Beyond aims are to bring their love of psychedelic horror films from the sixties and early seventies into their music. The band formed in 2010 and bandleader Rob McCarthy’s (guitars, vocals, synths) admirations of Escape to New York and Halloween film soundtracks sits beside his rockier tastes of Queens of the Stone Age and Sleep. There have been many horror and heavy metal associations over the years and to help Rob achieve this latest merger are Dave Grooman (guitars, effects), Brook Willhoite (bass, synths, vocals) and Anthony Vallejo (drums, vocals).
Having so far toured with the likes of The Sword, Purson, Truckfighters, St Vitus, and having released The Colour Out Of Space EP now comes their full length debut, The Band From Beyond, released on Candlelight Records. The band do share a few similarities with their producer Bryan Richie of The Sword – as well as starting out as a stoner rock defined band, are Sci-Fi interests, and a fondness of spooning synths into the equation for that cinematic soundtrack vibe.
The movie buffs do indeed spread out with an array of synths and acoustic intros. But, essentially, this is an album which ping pongs back and forth between longer, classic era doom and a more direct, tuneful stoner rock approach. This fine ear for tunage in the latter is best exemplified when they apply the same fuzz tone riffage of early Sword, and more predominantly, pre-arena filling Queens of the Stone Age, in ‘Machine Gun’, the catchy ‘Blooming Sun’, and the album’s highlight ‘Laura’. While ‘The Slip’ is hugely indebted to the QOTSA ‘Little Sister’ riff, but The Cars-esque synths are the first of two surprising recalls of late seventies, early eighties new wave.
The doom-laden songs are more of a mixed bag. Spacey, synth doom of ‘The Fall To Earth’ does rather plod itself into a cul-de-sac while more interestingly is ‘Lost Way’ as its wider synth soundscapes intro recollects Nine Inch Nails and rather surprisingly, evolves into a staggering resemblance to Ultravox’s ‘Vienna’, before the synths are offset with some fine, but familiar, dark, foreboding guitar tones. But the most successful of the doomy bunch is ‘The Colour Of Space’ as it packs a stronger Black Sabbath, Monolord-esque punch and possesses possibly the best riff of the album. The seven minutes album closer ‘Black Mirror’ yearns a towering epic finish, but doesn’t reach the mountainous heights of doom masters, Trouble, The Skull, and Monolord.
While it is common for debuts to go for the jugular, and throw everything in with a forthright energy, From Beyond aims are, er, beyond that. It is commendable they have a clear vision for their band but The band From Beyond ends up being a rather sprawling and ultimately, an uneven affair. Not quite the classic debut then, but not all is lost as with a bit of tighter tweaking there is enough here to suggest they have potential running through their terror flicked, metal sheen, veins.