Web special: A grave debut for Ohio's Beneath the Sky 

“What Demons Do to Saints”
Beneath the Sky
Victory Records
2.5 stars

All the traditional elements are utilized on Beneath the Sky’s debut “What Demons Do to Saints”: a crushing breakdown on “A Grave Mistake” and a combination of rumbling siege and punk speed on “Goodfellas,” with both high- and low-end vocals. Then there’s a quiet close to contrast sharply with the rest of the grating onslaught, titled “For Each Remembered Name.”

If there’s any differentiating aspect to this Cincinnati, Ohio-based sextet, it’s Joey Nelson’s impossibly strident vocals. He does the best demon impersonation this side of Haste the Day. That’s another common theme on “What Demons Do to Saints” — plain singing used behind the lead vocalist.

There are plenty of standouts. Flashes of Metallica can be heard at the beginning of “How the Times Have Changed,” which also serves to showcase Beneath the Sky’s own brand of scurrilous melody. “The Reason” features immense open space and clinical destruction by drummer Brandon Sowder. He helps drive the calculated metal machinery of “Falling in Love with Cold Hands.” The captivating and precise time changes of “The Glamour of Corruption” serve as a killer close to the CD.

At least Beneath the Sky tries to throw a little bit of everything into the mix to variegate it as much as possible. But even so, “What Demons Do to Saints” is something you’ve heard before. Those new to this sound will snap their necks and punch holes in the wall while listening to it. For the veterans, it may elicit a satisfied nod, or at best a yawn or shrug. It’s a strong debut for the band, but for continued success, they’ll need to find their own motif.

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