2014 has done only a quarter of its time and already there has been a barrage of significant releases, updates, new line-ups, super groups, et al, in the world of Metal. Personally, I am just happy with the numerous amazing artists I have discovered this time, and how much of uncharted territory there is left to explore with respect to new sub-genres and crossovers. One of the many discoveries is a Death Metal act that goes by the name of Benighted. By the time I started picking up pieces of my jaw and stopping my ear from bleeding I had already spun their new record “Carnivore Sublime”, a few times.
“Carnivore Sublime” opens with the one and a half minute marker “X2Y”, bearing elements of both Grindcore as well as Death Metal. The first thing that the listener might note about the band is the use of intelligible screams that complement the overall low and mid-range growls. The band also breaks the mould by rounding off the outro with electronic glitches. Second track Kevin Foley is where the fun starts. With Kevin Foley’s (formerly of Sepultura/Sabaton) monstrous footwork hogging half the lime light, the rest is filled up with some scary fast lead work and unique pig squeals. “Experience Your Flesh” is brings a radical shift in dynamics, bringing to mind compositions akin to the latest Carcass. Enjoyable in spades, the track packs some solid mid-tempo hooks to have you headbanging in bits and pieces every now and then. What impresses me more about the record is that these lads have pulled in influences from the best of Death Metal and still managed to not spoil the broth: Given the random shift in dynamics from blistering riff-based anthems like “Noise” to the more laidback nature of the 3rd track, most would be put off by the Dr.Grind-Mr.Death schizophrenia, but these guys managed to execute it tastefully.
For a band that has been around since 1998, with several full-lengths to their name, Benighted have flown unreasonably under the radar. “Slaughter/Suicide” further highlights my aforementioned point about Benighted’s characteristic multi-faceted nature. What starts as a Drum and Bass lock soon blossoms into a riff based first verse. But wait there’s more, there’s some Grind action at the end of this tunnel too. Followed up with some interesting hooks and screams, this number is a solid one too! “Spit” jolted me, and jolted me good for a reason, first minute into the track anyone might be tempted to believe that they are listening to a Suicide Silence- The Dillinger Escape Plan mash-up. And just in case that didn’t start ringing your bells there’s some Death ‘n’ Roll stylized riffs and gang-chants in there too. Jeebus Murphy!
Waltzing back into Death Metal territory and how, “Defiled Purity” is starts off with anguished screams and howls complementing the instrumental segment. With some mind-numbing footwork from Foley and some memorable riffing from the duo of Adrien Guerin and Olivier Gabriel, “Defiled Purity” dances on the fine line between Math and Black Metal. Up until the title track, Benighted follow the Death Metal template more or less. Throwing in some scary good pig squealing into the mix, the band explores its experimental side by incorporating cowbells and whispered/spoken verses into the track, giving it a gypsy-ish tinge. Featuring some of my favourite moments on the album for the bridge section, Benighted brings out the big guns to make the best of the title track. “June and the Laconic Solstice” may not be the best track on the album, but for hitherto unknown reasons it’s a personal favourite.
“Carnivore Sublime” is the in my honest opinion the best thing that happened to Death Metal in the last few months, keeping in mind Suffocation and Immolation’s gargantuan full lengths that were released last year. The band cites influences ranging from Math, Thrash, Grind and a whole lot in between, not just for the sake of breaking the monotony that Death Metal is maligned by, from time to time, but also to push the envelope further in terms of musicianship, compositional brilliance and catchiness (Read: hooks).
Besides the aesthetic beauty of motherhood or more frankly a naked pair of boobies on the cover, the band has packed the album to the brim with good moments, moshworthy Death Metal nuances, intuitiveness and a certain amount of production value. If you are looking to sink your teeth into a Metal band that every other self-proclaimed Heavy Metal pundit isn’t rattling off about, Benighted is a good place to start. If you still need further convincing scroll down to stream some of their tracks. Chop Chop!