Beholder – Reflections


Review by Ian Savage 

Release date: 12th April 2016

Over the eleven years or so that Coventry’s Beholder have been a going concern the quantity of their recorded output has been far outweighed by brutal live outings. Debut ‘The Awakening’ didn’t emerge until 2010 and lauded follow-up ‘The Order Of Chaos’ had its third birthday not long ago; the faithful have been waiting for ‘Reflections‘ for a while.

Don’t expect too many of the soaring major-key sing-along choruses favoured by some of Beholder’s UK metal contemporaries; this is unrelentingly, punishingly heavy stuff. Even when a melodic hookline breaks the tumultuous surface like a kraken (see: ‘I. Machine’, ‘Breathe In The Silence’) it’s punctuated by a roar of “eat, sleep, work, die!” or the intonation that “the sickness breathes”…this isn’t an easy ride by any stretch.

That’s not to say that Simon Hall’s vocals lack depth – in fact entirely the opposite. Over ‘Reflections”s 58-minute runtime he invites comparisons as disparate as Bruce Dickinson, M Shadows and Robb Flynn, and the musicianship is as flawless throughout as it has to be to hold such a behemoth together. Chris Bentley’s awesome drumming and Si Fielding’s low-end rumble prop up some inventively angular riffage from comparative new-boy Scott Taylor to construct the aural equivalent of a bulldozer with precision chainsaw-arms.

With the frontman listing among his dislikes ‘banks, government and the rule of law’ the lyrical content will surprise few, and it’s delivered with pinpoint snarling vitriol.  There’s a lot to be angry about in the world of 2016; take a look at it through the eye of the Beholder.

8 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Frozen Steps Of Utøya
  2. I. Machine
  3. Heal The Wounds
  4. Host
  5. Dance Macabre
  6. Breathe In The Silence
  7. Killing Time
  8. Army Of One
  9. My Revolution
  10. Speak To Me