Tech Death Thursday: The Beast of Nod – Multiversal
I’m pretty sure this isn’t about Command & Conquer.
The Beast of Nod. You know ’em, you love ’em. If somehow you don’t know them, then drop whatever you’re doing right now, go read this, and jam Vampira: Disciple of Chaos. If somehow you know them and don’t love them, then, well, there’s no helping you. The only cure is death by cybernetic tiger with dorsal-mounted laser cannon. But if you don’t have time to read an article or jam a whole album right now, or you just need a refresher, then give “Potroast the Rhinoman” a listen. It encapsulates the spirit of Vampira, loaded with tap-heavy riffing, creative melodies, and an inescapable sense of playfulness. The album is some of the most raw fun you can have in the prog and tech death sphere.
On Multiversal, nothing has changed, but everything has changed. This is still a Beast of Nod album, and all the hallmarks of their sound are still there. It still abounds with creativity, arguably even more so than the last record. While I didn’t have a lyrics sheet for this, it’s not hard to tell they’re still pretty goofy; if nothing else, the mention of some kind of “death machine” accompanied by ominous choir on “Call of the Squirrel” is a dead giveaway. The guitar and bass are still flashy as all hell, especially when they’re doubled up by synths, but the drums felt like they stood out a lot more this time around in particular. The drummer lays down some incredible grooves on this album, and his pocket playing carries just as much flair as the strings. I feel like it’s been a bit since I was really blown away by a drum performance, and I typically listen to technical metal for the guitars more than anything else, so it should say something that the percussion drew my ear as much as the strings.
And speaking of groove, that’s where Multiversal differs most from its predecessor. As mentioned above, the music is still very flashy, but the focus has both shifted and tightened up. Each song, and the whole album by extension, is a smoother listen than Vampira, relying less on jarring tempo and feel changes to make things sound “progressive.” Instead, they push at the boundaries of a more defined structure within each song, pushing what they can do with rhythm and textures while keeping it sounding clean and catchy. For all the instrumental spectacle, there’s a lot of subtle touches in the background, bits of synth and clean guitar that make the songs feel more alive and lush.
But perhaps most notable is how much darker this sounds than Vampira. Bands saying their new material is heavier and darker is basically a meme at this point, but it’s true with Multiversal. It’s still a fun listen, and there aren’t any slam riffs a la “Ripped Off Face” this time around, but it ups the tension and bombast with a more prominent use of orchestral synths (and the aforementioned squirrel death machine choir). It reminds more more than a little of how Allegaeon tweaked their sound on Proponent For Sentience; not only are there some similar melodic ideas on this record, it has that same feel of swinging for the fences with something new and bold.
And I would say they’ve succeeded here. Multiversal is a damn fine album, a fantastic addition to The Beast of Nod canon. You can preorder the album ahead of its March 29th release over on Bandcamp, and you can follow The Beast of Nod on Facebook. I also recommend checking out the band’s website if you want more merch options or would like to dive into the lore of the absurd world they’ve created. That’s all for now, so until next time,