Beaten to Death - Dødsfest!
Mas-Kina Recordings
Grindcore
12 songs (19:08)
Release year: 2013
Mas-Kina Recordings
Reviewed by Goat
Surprise of the month

It's still a pleasure to be surprised in this game, to have a band on your 'to check out' list for ages, finally get around to listening to them, and being bowled over. Beaten to Death, a Norwegian band featuring Tsjuder's drummer, Insense's guitarists, and She Said Destroy's vocalist, play an intense but original form of grindcore, technical yet loose and energetic thanks to recording both of their albums to date live in their rehearsal room. The first, 2011's Xes and Strokes, is a bit heavier, while Dødsfest! has more of a goofy energy to it, being more experimental and more willing to blur genre boundaries. Both are excellent, but Dødsfest! has something genuinely special about it, not least for being so subtly complex and rewarding despite its length.

Opener Vulpes Vulpes, Mustela Lutreola, Praedium moves quickly and easily between post-rock-inspired melody and blasting death metal – it's like Pelican and Benighted having a fight – and the album rarely lets up from then on, tracks moving seamlessly in and out of each other to create the illusion of one long piece. Highlights are frequent, each and every song having something to say, albeit quickly, as the longest track here is just over two minutes. The Egg Thrower is constructed around an oddly catchy chorus, the intensity building up, being broken with a melodic twist, then plunged straight back in. Krepsekamp opens with black metal speed then breaks down into tech-chugging, the following True Norwegian Internet Metal Warrior mixes blastbeats and strange melodies – the creativity and skill shown off in the songwriting alone is impressive, and the band more than have the instrumental chops to pull it off.

Of course, one of the highest levels of skill in a grindcore band is in being able to write cohesive songs shorter than 30 seconds, that come in, blast, and leave, and Erik Og Skrik does just that, setting up a riff and shriek, blasting, then returning to it. It's in the experimental moments like Døv Døvere Død and Aspen Hellweek that the band show that there is more than one string to their bow, however, possessing personality as well as skill. The way that a melodic guitar line stands out above the blasting and screaming is unusual and distinctive enough to make you revisit it, and the album bears repeated listens remarkably well. Little touches of Beaten to Death's uniqueness are scattered nearly everywhere, the subtly funky breakdown in Obliteration of Nekromantheon and the brief backing singing of Nazi Slippers just two examples. More than just another twenty-minute grind album yet showing they can grind with the best, Beaten to Death deserve to be bigger as a result of this. Highly recommended.

Killing Songs :
The Egg Thrower, Krepsekamp, Døv Døvere Død, Obliteration of Nekromantheon, Nazi Slippers, Aspen Hellweek, Vinni Butterfly
Goat quoted 87 / 100
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There are 3 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:53 pm
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