Review: “Clair Obscur” by It Came From Beneath

Formed in 2010 and comprising vocalist Léo Muller, drummer Julien Ropert, bassist Nico Colère and axe wielding duo Lorenzo Di Biase & Etn Lpz, It Came From Beneath are very much a Deathcore band from Lyon, France. “Clair Obscur” is the bands second full length album, following their debut “When No Light Remains” in 2013, while they also have a pair of EPs available over at Bandcamp.

Starting with an atmospheric building drum fill cuccooned in a swirling pattern on dark and haunting shrill whispers “Tenebres” is a horror film tension builder that opens the album in dark style. “Decline” is the opening track proper and sees pummelling kit work and some brutal gutteral vocals from Léo Muller. Some Metalcore elements appear in the form of some lead guitar work that adds light to the darkness and a momentary mid song fade and rise is a master stroke. “Fading Lights” features a guest appearance from Johan Girardeau, the first of a pair on the album. Musically, the track is soaked in blast beats and breakdowns while the cavernous roar of the vocals sounds like a tornado trying to fight it’s way out of a cave. This is very much the sound of an Alex Koehler era Chelsea Grin. “Circling” then takes you on a darker and more menacing path. Léo Muller adds some shrill higher pitched tones on occasion to his usual roar that adds an extra dimension while the guitars smash breakdown upon breakdown like prize fighters in a death bout.

Flooding the ears with a gripping tension “Optophobia” builds some Metalcore leads over Deathcore breakdowns with an almost choral underpinning in places. A ripping solo is a fine piece of work, even if it is a little bit buried in the mix for our liking. Taking their foot off the pedal for a slower eerie and off kilter introduction “As World Eats Itself” then kicks in a proper in the second verse with some Death Metal leanings and neck breaking slow headbanging basslines. Use of a delay on the microphone gives the vocals a nice fade effect while the kitwork continues to impress throughout. It maybe a melodic song at heart but the vocals don’t let up in their ferociousness for a second. Album title track “Clair Obscur” again takes the melodic route but does so with an aching beauty and adds meloncholic piano work to the mix. “Unworthy” features a guest appearance from Fabien Rebourgeon, the second guest spot on the album. It builds the meloncholic atmosphere into a far heavier track by starting off with some dark downtuned riffage that lifts into blast beats and the full on onslaught of the opening tracks. A “Blegh!” wouldn’t normally be associated with this kind of Death Metal plundering however it adds fine contrast the otherwise barked vocal delivery.

“Chased” lives up to its title with a relentless drive that doesn’t stop for a moment. The band seem less intent on sticking to the Deathcore niche and more intent on breaking good songs over heads of their unexpected audience. The fusion of Death Metal and Metalcore on this one is a delight and in stark contrast to some of the earlier songs on offer. “Heat Death” is more of a battering ram of a song, akin to the earlier material. It as an almost DJent stuccato section with an almost Jazz flourish that comes as an unexpected surprise. “Desert Hills” manages to bring everything together nicely an features all of the elements that make this album a solid offering. Someone better call a tow truck for the breakdowns on offer. As an album it’s one that has a serious amount to offer and one which bleeds integrity and technical skill. If you’re looking for something on the Death Metal side of Deathcore, then this one is definitely for you [7.5/10]


  1. “Tenebres”
  2. “Decline”
  3. “Fading Lights” Ft. Johan Girardeau
  4. “Circling”
  5. “Optophobia”
  6. “As World Eats Itself”
  7. “Clair Obscur”
  8. “Unworthy” Ft. Fabien Rebourgeon
  9. “Chased”
  10. “Heat Death”
  11. “Desert Hills”

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