posted on 5/2011 By:
I’ve been singing the praises of France's Benighted as one of death metal's best kept secrets here at MetalReview since 2003's ICP, my first introduction to the band. And true death metal aficionados have always exchanged a nod and a wink when referencing the band, hopeful to keep them a clandestine and brutal secret, away from the prying eyes of the mainstream, the bigger labels and the trend-whoring scenester kids. Well, with album number six out on Season of Mist, the run is over and the secret is out; we now have to share Benighted with the rest of the world.
Admittedly, Benighted’s sound is one that will have lots of appeal now that it’s out there. The deathcore kids will love the pig squeals; casual death metal fans will love the "broodle" delivery and burly production, and let’s be honest, Benighted is just fucking good. Their mix of shitstorm Napalm Death voracity and Dying Fetus heft and groove is just perfect, and even six albums in, they are as consistent (and yet as undervalued) as they were nearly a decade ago.
The title track begins the throttling insanity right from the get-go with a feral punky snarl and a pace that could be from The Code is Red, Long Live the Code. And from there on, the album just simply rips, tears and violates with complete disregard for your health or hearing. While still smartly heavy and subtly brutal, Benighted is never one to shy away from a little experimentation and surprising melody -- amidst the sledgehammer and pile-driving throes of the aptly titled “Let the Blood Spill Between my Teeth” and “Hostile”, the downright creepy “Fritzl”, the slicing “Lethal Merycism” and the violent, scratch-filled closer “Drowning”, there are snippets of real eye-opening craftsmanship and mature, actual songwriting. Like a 2000-pound gorilla quoting Sartre, Benighted wields pure unbridled savagery with an intelligence and eloquence. But make no mistake, the band can bludgeon, blast, groove and offend with the best of them, as shown by the likes of “Unborn Infected Children”, “The Cold Remains”, “A Quiet Day” and “Shadows Descend”, all of which rumble, snarl and lope with knuckle-dragging impact.
Of course, the naysayers will hate the pig squeal vocals, but die-hards will reply that they’ve had that vocal style long before it became part of any sort of core-based landscape. And ultimately, if your‘re going to let those vocals ruin such a rippingly perfect extreme metal album, it’s your loss.
Stay Brutal indeed. (Nod, nod, wink, wink...)
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