Since the release of this ep around the beginning of 2018, The Beckoning have announced the end of the band with everyone involved leaving on good terms. The Canadian band has been around since 2010 and this “ep” is a combination of the previously released demos Desolate (2014) and War (2012) and even though only four songs, clocks in at close to half an hour in length, pushing the boundaries of the definition of ep. Given a listen to the material, one can’t help but be surprised that this much sound comes from a band of three people, husband and wife Roy and Meghann Turple covering drums, vocals, and keyboards and Eldon Loewen handling bass and guitars. The band enlisted guitarist Derek Corzine (Blood Thirsty, Whisper from Heaven, ex-Bloodline Severed) to mix the ep and his experience in the various genres covered by his bands shows through in an album that manages to make a myriad of instruments and vocal styles show cleanly in the mix.
Immediately when “Lamentation” starts with its piano piece, one can’t help but wonder when the inevitable explosion of metal guitars and drums will come, especially given the album cover. Suprisignly though, the first bit is just keyboards and guitar taking the over the piano line, more like what one would hear in power metal song, but then the music goes quiet as a spoken piece begins backed by a chiming clock and Meghann’s beautiful operatic voice. Guitar feedback comes in and takes over and then the song explodes into a thrashy death metal run, punctuated by Roy’s pounding and driving drum line. As one might expect from anything with the label “progressive” there is a lot going on in the song, but it flows, largely on the strength of the main riff and drums along with a nice accent from Meghan’s voice.
“The Sifting” changes the formula up a bit opening with an almost black metal feel between the guitars and keyboards. At over nine minutes, one can expect a lot of changes within the songs and they are all there from growled vocals, to clean vocals, to operatic vocals, to slower, jazzy like sections, to full on death/black metal ones. In all of the changes, the transitions work and everything just fits together. Some bands struggle in incorporating the operatic, female vocals in a way that fits well with the music, but that is not the case with the Beckoning. Meghann’s somewhat dark, melancholy tone works very well with the music and never feels forced. Around the 6 minute mark, “the time has come” and song literally launches into a fast heavy section with a complicated, technical guitar riff before bouncing through some other elements to end up finishing with a heavy driving riff accompanying some clean vocals from Meghann that showcase her range and feel for a song when not using operatic vocal styles.
“Battle Cry” is the one song on the ep less than 6 minutes long and begins sounding much like one would hear from European power metal bands that have female vocalists. Meghann’s vocals are smooth and contrast well with the growled, near shrieking death/black vocals, and the choir-like male vocals. In a song that features themes of salvation and Jesus’ death on the cross, the band manages to keep the lyrics to more a presentation of their beliefs than coming across as preaching, which is something many other bands struggle with. “Desolate Sanctuary” again shifts things back to a more progressive approach to song construction and again begins much like a power metal track featuring Meghann’s clean vocals and showing her range in emotion in performing. The band manages to blend brighter sections with Meghann’s vocals and darker, more aggressive ones with Roy’s death growls in a way that simply works within the track. There are some higher register, near falsetto male vocals as well, but those I’m not terribly sure about.
Whether this is a short album or very long ep is debatable, but one thing is sure, The Beckoning have gone out in style and left us with a great listen filled with strong performances. This is truly progressive extreme metal and very much along the lines of Tourniquet in terms of style and quality.
Written by John Jackson
2) The Sifting
3) Battle Cry
4) Desolate Sanctuary
Roy Turple – Drums/Lead Vocals
Meghann Turple – Keys/Piano/Vocals
Eldon Loewen – Guitar/Bass
Record Label: Nosral Recordings
Release Date: 29 Dec. 2017
Lyric video for ‘Lamentation’