You know, I love it when you find an indie band who knows what they're doing. Bestiary DEFINITELY falls under that category. This Michigan-based five piece further proves the point that there still is hope for the U.S. metal scene.
On The Murder Wheel, Bestiary lays down a mixture of melodic death metal and metalcore for an extremely intense sound. WAIT! I know that some of you almost closed this page due to the fact that I said "core" in the last sentence. Dismissing this band because of some influences like that would be foolish. This is so much more that your standard metalcore band. Yes, melodic death and metalcore have been played out so much that it makes one wanna vomit. However, Bestiary is so good at what they do that it makes you wanna forget the style and just enjoy the fact that it's quality metal.
While most metalcore bores the crap out of me within 30 seconds of the first song, Bestiary uses metalcore more as a slight influence and not a driving factor. The band does use the raspy, black metal influenced vocals that everybody and their dog uses in the metalcore scene, but they mix it back and forth with some killer death growls that make for an impressive vocal performance. Not to mention that the music on this disc is flat out brutal! The crushing riffs mixed with blasting and some great solos make for a dramatic feel. You can help but bang your head while listening to this disc.
Another plus is the songs don't all sound similar. The band uses lots of variation that even includes acoustic guitar and piano. In fact, the song "Bereavement" is an acoustic song that reminds me of some of Opeth's mellow stuff. Speaking of Opeth, the lyrics on this disc speak a lot of death, however, its approached from a much different angle.
Production-wise, there is not much to complain about. The band has put out a nice recording. And the packaging is also nicely done.
While Bestiary does not reinvent the wheel with The Murder Wheel, they have recorded a very solid album that deserves your attention. Like Indwelling's new disc, death metal fans and Solid State junkies should both be lining up to get this disc. Check out their sound at http://www.mp3.com/bestiary (Review by Matt)