Benea Reach Monument Bineothan

Remember Extol? Talk about a band that were simply too much for most folk to grasp; those zany Norwegians put together some kind of progressive, emotional extreme metal that alienated damn near everyone. Well, here comes ex-Extol guitarist Christer Espevoil, bringing to Benea Reach the same slippery, non sequitur bag of riff tricks that made Extol so intriguing. And the drumming of colleague Marco Storm is excellent, continually driving home an off-kilter beat that is machine-like in its precision yet stylish with its fills. While "Transmitter” may bring to mind modern technical metalcore and "Pandemonium” is a near-sludge track, there’s too much going on in any particular song to begin to nail it down. It’s ambitious, progressive and emotional but it still shreds with the best of them. Benea Reach’s downfall is the same as Extol’s: too much of everything is okay but not when it has a running time close to an hour. Then it’s just exhausting. (Candlelight)