I remember when this album came out. Hard fast loud aggro-core was in it's glory days in the underground all across America and TSOL were one of the main focal point bands of that scene, along with Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Minor Threat, Bad Brains etc. So imagine what most of the hardcore kids' reaction was to this album when it hit their ears for the first time. TSOL caught a LOT of... ahem... "do-doo" for it! I saw them on the tour they did for this album and most of the kids at the show were unreceptive to put it mildly! I remember one guy I hung out with back then who upon hearing the first 2 songs after buying this, yanked the record off his turntable and smashed it to little black shards over his speakers.
My personal take on it? Well, this album came out right about the same time I saw my first Damned show. That was a very pivotal time for me musically. Up until then I had been a typical early 80's short-haired hardcore hound... if it didn't move at the speed of light with amps cranked to 11 I didn't want to have anything to do with it. Seeing the Damned changed all that for me. They just blew me away when I saw them, and they were playing longer, more pop-oriented songs with a keyboard player in tow (from their then-new album "Strawberries"), but with incredible punk energy and attitude, and it cracked my mind wide open to new ideas and new tastes. Then I bought "Beneath The Shadows" a few days later and the timing couldn't have been better. The moody psychedelic overtones grabbed me just the right way, and the more I listened, the more I got into it. Most of my friends didn't though, and I got a lot of s*%t for openly liking it. Whatever. Later on many of those same people came to appreciate this album. The sad thing is that this album didn't get that kind of appreciation until after Jack and Todd left the band in disgust with all the negative attention they were getting at the time, and TSOL became an entirely different band altogether. Most bands that have had the balls and imagination to break new ground have suffered the same fate. Those are usually the bands I like best. To me that's all punk was really about anyway... doing your own thing no matter what the current popular trend is, and breaking away from the herd.
So anyway, this severely underrated album still gets a lot of play on my various sources of musical listening devices. It has aged well, like the rest of TSOL's early output, and is a profound testament to the pioneering punk spirit that says SCREW RULES AND GUIDELINES. In my opinion it was the last great TSOL album and if you don't limit your tastes to the rigid dogmatic guidelines of what necessitates a "genre", then you'll love this album... or at least appreciate it.