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Beaten To Death give gloriously little in the way of fucks. The band can be found assiduously shitting in the woods, just off the beaten path of metal. I loved the band's debut, and Dødsfest! finds the band again grinding out absurdly ferocious, melodic, addictive, and categorically uncharacterizable music.
The first thing you’ll notice about Dødsfest! is the production; the guitars are barely distorted, and the bass bounces on top of the mix with ballistic pointillism. The album has a gloriously odd center of gravity, feeling simultaneously compressed and airy.
Beyond its acoustic dementia, Dødsfest! is a rabid smorgasbord of styles, united by a disregard for convention. Beaten to Death bring plenty of blastbeaten grind to the table, mincing dissonance and speed with inhuman skill. There are oodles of grooves and the occasional over-the-top breakdown; it all just works. The album’s most salient feature, however, is its blatant melodicism. Indie-rock poignance is poured copiously into the album’s voracious maw.
The appropriation of cross-genre aesthetics into metal is a theme, of course (see Deafheaven). Such purposeful and calculated maneuvers usually set off my bullshit detector, for better or worse. Beaten to Death pull this off, somehow, in a manner that I can enjoy without twinges of misgiving. This chaos doesn’t feel like a marketing ploy, but more like a car crash, a demolition derby for its own sake. Follow me?
Most importantly, Beaten to Death manage to shape their ear-mangling machinations into discernable, recognizable and memorable songs. Its lifespan is brief, but Dødsfest! leaves a mental mark. I’m quite happy that there’s a continuity between Xes And Strokes and Dødsfest!. There’s a vision in this aural entropy; it’s just wonderfully fucked up.
Originally published here.