Well, since I reviewed the previous release about a year and a half ago, it's only fitting that I keep on following the downtempo train when it comes to this band. The sludgy, guttural Canadian metallers in Beyond Deviation are back at it again with their third release, and also being their debut full-length as far as I know. Nonetheless, these Chugcore Records alumni have moderately satisfied me with The Plague King, so let's see what this new one has to offer.
Dark Passenger is the latest offering from the Gatineau-based collective that was released in April of 2019. This 36 minute album consists of eleven songs this time around, making a big leap from the more brief, EP-esque compositions of the past. Also, the new full-length contains a rerecorded track from the band's debut EP titled White Noise as well as guest spot features courtesy of Alan Grnja (Distant) in addition to Greg Gilbert (Shrine of Malice).
The best way I can describe Dark Passenger is that it mixes elements of both White Noise and The Plague King while also adding some of its own ideas, such as the evil, low, almost spoken word vocals in 'Premonition' and some mixture of different types of vocals and breakdowns in the later tracks as well. The track lengths are pretty modest, but there is a bit more substance all around as opposed to the previous two releases. The first half of this album was more reminiscient of White Noise, especially with the first two or three tracks with their slower pacing, epically downtuned breakdowns and aggressive vocals (aside from the rerecorded 'White Noise' track itself, which blows the original out of the water in terms of pretty much everything including production and vocals); whilst the second half felt more like its own thing mixed in with elements of The Plague King such as some subtle guitar solos, faster riffs and greater song structure to boot.
A couple of the songs I didn't care for were the interlude track 'Despair', which I thought wasn't needed and just unusually placed filler, and the last track. 'Unknown Obscurity' (the album's final track) isn't actually bad, but it kind of overstays its welcome in my opinion. I really liked the little bass fills here and there and wish there were more to them, as well. Overall, I must say that 'Transition' makes for a solid opener to set the mood and atmosphere. And some of my fave tracks included 'The Nefarious' & 'Stranded' (both of which include guest spots) for their greater vocal variety and fast pace despite their short lengths. Also, some later songs like 'Premonition' and 'Death Sentence' are brutal bangers as well for the things they do differently as a change of pace.
There's no question that Dark Passenger is a brutal and over-the-top album in its own playing field. From its slimy, low-end vocals to its beefy open note riffs and even some of the foreboding bass lines and slowed down melodic parts in between, I'd have to say Beyond Deviation have taken a step in the right direction here and have done a lot of things to improve on and somewhat innovate their already daunting sound. The changes, even if subtle, are all there and I'm hoping to hear more nuances like the ones mentioned within this review in the band's future releases. Long story short, if you're a fan of the previous material or the label the artist is on, then definitely give this one a shot.
Fave Tracks: 'The Nefarious', 'White Noise', 'Premonition'
For Fans Of: Black Tongue, Feign, Filth
**This release is available now here!**
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-Review by: Dave Raffy
Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
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