It’s not original to compare metal and punk music. Both use loudness as their primary gesture, both use distortion pedals, both employ screamy vocals. However, Beyond Peace’s sound draws on both genres, which heightens the intensity of the music. Rather than the verse/chorus/verse of punk rock, there’s some of metal’s structural variation, such as instrumental codas and interludes and tempo changes.
Beyond Peace writes songs with an anger less dark and nihilistic than is customary in metal; sounding inspired by bands like Dead Kennedys and Fugazi to get angry about politics, but it’s a politics of the personal. In “Wearing Thin,” when singer James Fullerton yells at his audience, “You don’t know what’s right. You don’t know what’s wrong. All you know is what they’ve told you all along,” he isn’t just ranting at a hypothetical target. It’s a call to arms for Beyond Peace fans to think for themselves.
The brutal drums of Joe Milik and Oliver Weilein’s distorted guitar sound furious and rushed, with all the urgency of hardcore punk. Even though the songs all run around two minutes, there’s a lot going on here; they seem longer in a way that’s satisfying instead of tedious. Loud, aggressive music like this can lack variation and dynamics, but Beyond Peace avoids that trap with the variety of their sound, which combines punk’s blunt directness with that structural sophistication of metal.
In “Repression,” when Fullerton sings, “Make me regret hating you” to (it’s assumed) a parent, he sounds authentically angry and conflicted, whether it’s personal to him or the voice of an imagined narrator. Beyond Peace makes big demands, but that authenticity is the listener’s reward.
Ed. Note: The print version of this article incorrectly identified Joe Milik as singer and songwriter. Songwriting duties are shared by the band (which also includes Donald Halbmaier on bass) and the instrumentation is corrected here. We regret this error.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 216.