We love our metal here in Quebec, almost as much as we love poutine. It’s a little known fact that if you buy a Quebecer a poutine and play Metallica’s Kill Em’ All at the same time, they will spontaneously ejaculate in their pants. But while we feverishly consume metal in Quebec and continuously pull in all the best metal acts, we don’t seem to breed metal bands half as much as some of those Scandinavian countries do. If there is a metal mecca – and obviously this is a point that could be debated infinitely – I would say that it lies somewhere in Europe. Anyways, this was just my roundabout way of saying What Lies Beyond are from Solin, Croatia.
This five-piece, self-proclaimed modern hard rock and metal band is comprised of Ivan Sipic (vocals), Filip Samardzic (lead guitar), Ante Katinac (rhythm guitar), Ante Topic (bass), and Marin Jakic (drums) and yes, it’s oh so very metal. The opening track “Turning Tides” rings out with epic metalcore familiarity. Fans of Asking Alexandria, Trivium and the like will bop to this one, no doubt. There will also be some appeal here for the more hard rock inclined fans, so if you’re still popping Disturbed into your Discman, make some time for What Lies Beyond. There is some slick production on Coup De Grâce, these dudes must have spent some long nights in the studio! The guitar tone is pristine, the drums are explosive but not overly dominant and Sipic can belt like a motherfucker. Listen to that intro on “Behind the Closed Doors” for a perfect example of it all working together.
Time for a little segueway: in my late teens, I went through an intense nu-metal phase. 2000 to 2003 was the golden age of nu metal in my humble opinion. I was super into the band Coal Chamber, their debut album Coal Chamber is a nu metal staple, but they never transcended into one of my favourite bands for the mere reason that I found singer Dez Farfara’s lyrics irritating. I’m all for bizarre lyrics, it’s one of the many reasons I love System of a Down so much, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Unfortunately for What Lies Beyond, it just doesn’t work for me. Ultimately the lyrics make songs like “Marilyn Rose Pt. 1” and “Drink the Night Away” tough listens. Sipic needs some work on enunciation, and whoever writes the lyrics needs to fine tune the sentence structure. I do realize that some of this is probably a language barrier, but I’ll turn to one of my favourite European metal bands for affirmation, Finland’s Sentenced. While you can hear in vocalist Ville Laihiala’s singing that English is not his native language, it does not hinder the songs in any form or fashion, but rather creates a unique feel that is tantamount to Sentenced’s sound. If What Lies Beyond can achieve that, watch out metal world!
Written by Lee Ferguson
*edited by Kate Erickson