Album Review :
The Beckoning - The Desolation of War

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Nosral Recordings

December 29, 2017

  1. Lamentation
  2. The Sifting
  3. Battle Cry
  4. Desolate Sanctuary

Canadian progressive death metallers The Beckoning have been making noise since 2010.  This release combines two earlier demos—Desolate (2014) and War (2012) into one remastered full-length.  Truly progressive, this 4-song clocks in at over 29 minutes, making it either a very long EP, or a full-length with only 4 songs, depending on one’s perspective.

While the formula has been done before—screamed/growled vocals + clean/operatic vocals + heavy riffing + melodic leads—it works well here.  Founder/drummer/vocalist Roy Turple pulls off the screamed and clean sung vocals, and when he chooses the latter approach, resembles Jimmy Brown or Eric Clayton.  Wife and keyboardist/vocalist Meghann Turple provides the operatic and at times gothic vocal approach, and it meshes really well, particularly on the slower-paced album closer, “Desolate Sanctuary.”  Rounding out the trio is very talented Eldon Loewen on guitar and bass.

The playing is immense, the songs are long, with multiple movements in each track—this is the stuff prog metal is made of!  Musically, they bear some similarities to the Ukrainian band Angel 7, but The Beckoning rely less on keyboards.  Key are present here but they’re not in the forefront, instead used to enhance and add atmosphere.

I need to say a few words about the lyrics as their lyrical approach is very refreshing.  Opening track Lamentation begins with a prayer from Psalm 143 and warns us of the spiritual dangers of apostasy:

thirsting for light in a barren land

searching the night for some hope

clinging to lies of the serpent

who wages his war on my soul

the love of many will grow cold

I must not forget that this is war

And this theme sets the tone for the rest of the album.  Biblical faith is something that is very important to them, but their preaching never comes off as cringe-worthy or overstepping.  Even when the band speaks of judgment—a Christian metal staple—they approach it in a way that most could relate to:

Now we can see what we’ve always known

Time will tell that we’ve reaped what we’ve sown

What I expected from the album title was not what we get here.  It is not a sermon against the evils of war (despite there being a clear case for that message), but instead a lamentation of the state of humanity and the impending judgement we have brought upon ourselves.  While their message of salvation is clear:

Look to the cross

The war is won

Raise the banner

The battle’s begun

Behold The Lamb the victor

The message of warning is equally clear:

Serpents in every garden

Twisting timeless truths

Baiting the lusts of men

With Subterfuge

And so is the masquerade

Bearing the name

Mammon is the golden calf

That fuels the bastard’s flame

The album ends with the somber chill of Roy’s baritone croon, echoing the words of Jesus in Revelation 18:

Come out of her my people

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