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Well I just stumbled across Norwegian grindcore band Beaten to Death, and their 2013 album "Dødsfest!" and it's a monster of an album. Full of excellent musicianship, a good deal of humour, and a huge degree of creativity, this is a really unique and brilliant album.
Sure, there are the usual hallmarks of grind, tracks mostly between 1-2 minutes, and a heavy dose of blastbeats, but there's also so much weirdness and creativity on display too, that don't get fooled for a second that this is a typical grind release. The vocals are of the metalcore blueprint, the metalcore grunts and screams aren't my usual preference, but it's done well enough here, and they're vicious enough to rip the flesh from your skull. The bass is staggeringly good on this album, massively groovy, bouncing up and down throughout, in a manner that's simultaneously smile and headbang inducing. The most interesting of all is the guitars. Unlike most grind there's not a heavy crushing distortion on the guitars, rather they're more of a softer post-rock style. Trading off between strummed chords and pretty melodies, which could come out of post-rock music, to some really discordant and technical fretboard wizardry, and some heavy grinding chugs and breakdowns, the guitar performance here is monumental. "True Norwegian Internet Warrior" has these technical riffs at their best, really interesting, while the post-rock melodies of "Døv, Døvere, Død" are a real joy to behold. And with that bouncy bass, blasting drums and vicious vocals it's still a really brutal album at points, there's no danger of the technical and melodic side of their music detracting from Beaten to Death beating your ears to death, especially on the climax to "Aspen Hellweek", one of the best tracks here.
While having the technical grind elements of Gridlink, and the melodic purpose of Deafheaven, Beaten to Death maybe lack some of the refinement of those two bands, but what they lack in refinement they make up for in fun, energy and a sense of humour. Some of the song titles are weird and humorous and some clean "woahs" in the background of "Nazi Slipper" are fun as hell. Throughout the album, in spite of the excellent technical and melodic edge to those guitars, it still remains really fun, humorous and constantly headbang-demanding. Beaten to Death don't take themselves too seriously and the album just oozes fun. Any grindcore fan who wants something really different should give this one a go, this is a really unique album, and one to bring a smile to your face. Beaten to Death's mix of ripping grindcore, technical fretboard wizardry, melodic post-rockisms, and a good deal of fun and humour make Dødsfest! a beast of an album., and one that just DEMANDS back to back listens!
Originally written for swirlsofnoise.com