Though you might have never heard of them before, if you're a hardcore fan, there's a high probabilty you own a few records featuring musicians who were members of Beyond
Quicksand, 108, Burn, Inside Out, and Handsome are just a few of the groups that the members went on to play in after Beyond's split at the end of the '80s.
What Awaits Us: A Beyond Story is a new full-length documentary that traces celebrates their short yet fruitful run together, beginning with the band's Long Island heavy metal roots.
Directed by Beyond singer Kevin Egan (later of 1.6 Band, The Last Crime, Nefarious Pow), the film does a wonderful job of capturing the excitement the band's members felt when they discovered hardcore and its DIY-driven community.
They could have easily fell into the typical dead end suburban high school band story. You know, the group forms, plays a few local shows together (often Battle of the Bands type stuff), and then breaks up soon after because a couple of members go off to college, or something else along those lines.
Instead, Egan and guitarist Tom Capone recruited bassist/guitarist Vic DiCara and drummer Alan Cage, two fellow teens who shared the pair's love for the growing NYHC scene of the era. Not to say that original bassist Lance Jaeger and drummer Domenic Baiocco didn't help shape Beyond's NWOBHM-meets-hardcore sound, and the film hammers that idea home via its interview segments.
Speaking of those interviews, Charlie Garriga (Outface, CIV), Walter Schreifels (Quicksand, Rival Schools), Gavin Van Vlack (Absolution, Burn) and Sammy Siegler (Youth of Today, Judge) are among the hardcore luminaries featured throughout the documentary.
The late great Alex Brown (Side by Side, Gorilla Biscuits) also appears in interview segments, at one point talking about how his label, Schism Records, was supposed to release Beyond's sole full-length album, 1989's No Longer at Ease.
Throughout the documentary, Egan threads in footage of he and his bandmates preparing for a Beyond reunion set at the 2017 Rev Fest in Riverside, California. I was lucky enough to be at that show, and seeing behind-the-scenes footage of Egan, DiCara, Capone, and current drummer Larry Gorman (Fountainhead, Glassjaw) practicing for the gig was a fun treat.
In one memorable scene, Egan admits to struggling in years past when he was trying to move on and create new music, only to have some people merely thinking of him as "Kevin Beyond."
He's at peace now with both his past and present, and What Awaits Us benefits greatly from his transparency about that facet of his life. I'm sure many musicians who watch his film will appreciate and relate to Egan's honesty when it comes to that subject.
Like the music scene Beyond was part of, What Awaits Us is certainly rough around the edges in spots, but the passion that drove the band all those years ago comes bursting through the documentary. Egan clearly poured an immense amount of heart and soul into the project.
In the end, What Awaits Us will undoubtedly school younger hardcore listeners about Beyond's influence on the NYHC movement, and also remind us older listeners how unique and killer they were during their fleeting time together.
What Awaits Us: A Beyond Story is available for streaming at this link.
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