Providence – Beautality (Album Review)
For me Beautality were the surprise of 2011. At that point they were little more than an embryo of a band, so their level of technical proficiency and musical excellence hit me like a concrete fire engine. At their most astonishing Beautality could conduct a rainstorm of furious riffage with drumming that scores a nine on the Richter Scale and a voice that resonates gravitas, as deep and as ancient as an oceanic abyss.
So I was glad to see that on Providence, Beautality’s debut album, the songs from their original demo have survived the treacherous road from concept to reality. And in that transformation, they have lost none of their cerebral complexities.
Providence demands your commitment. An album that shuns the courtesies that accommodate for casual listeners, Providence is an album unburdened with the responsibility to make itself accessible to a fickle public. This solid hour and fifteen minutes of enigmatic metal consists of just seven tracks averaging out at ten minutes apiece, the shortest song being six minutes, the longest just shy of twenty.
Every single one of these tracks is filled with the purest raw expression, emotional outbursts, and explosions of rage tempered by a deafening silence. All wrapped up in typical heavy metal verse consisting of equal parts the mythic and the gothic; as epic as The Iliad and as cryptic as the Riddle of the Sphinx. These songs are not epics; they are epics in the form of songs.
The album is dense. Thick with the weight of philosophical subtext and frequent changes in tone, Providence demands more from the listener than the average LP. Like all the best metal bands Beautality aren’t afraid to slow things down, change the pace away from the blistering brutality that forms the genres most recognisable trait. But whereas most bands would change the pace between songs, Beautality change pace mid song and do so in a more dramatic fashion than most. The first song alone has such highs and lows you could easily mistake it for three separate tracks. Such is the ebbs and flows of the album you genuinely feel cast out in an ocean of distortion, at the mercy of its fragile temperament, cut off from humanity as you helplessly and compulsively travel further and further adrift.
The name Beautality is (obviously) a cross between the words Beauty and Brutality. It is the elegant and seamless combination of these two elements that form the basis of the band and highlight their greatest strengths. The way in which the songs can so easily be relentless and determined one minute, reflective and despondent the next; how they can so easily co-exist to the point where the absence of one would render the other powerless. They are the two sides of Providence’s metal coin and the elements that should raise their band to the successes they deserve.