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Dripping With Disgust - 84%

televiper11, September 26th, 2014

When did Benediction get so heavy? This is not meant to be a rhetorical question but a true interrogation. The Benediction I remember (and gave up on) back in the early/mid-90's was a solid second-tier death metal band who struggled to distinguish themselves from the pack. Their better records were fun, functional listens but when held up against others, it was easy to find Benediction out-thrashed, out-bludgeoned, and slightly overwhelmed. So imagine my surprise when I finally pressed play on Killing Music and after a brief intro was utterly overwhelmed, stunned by the sheer audacious heaviness of this album.

Two things come right to the surface during "The Grey Man:" Dave Hunt is a vicious vocalist with a distinct personal style that amps the intensity of the music; Neil Hutton has morphed into a next-level drummer. These two combine to dominate the mix: vocals and drums up front with the guitars and bass edging into the sides of the music. This production choice makes for a palpably heavy atmosphere. Dave Hunt totally owns this record, stepping up and into his own with deep gruff vocals that don't cop to previous Benediction singer styles. There is also a rage of seething anger to his voice that feels menacingly real. Musically, this is still classic Benediction: mostly mid-paced death metal with occasional thrashy breaks and a strong dose of classic UK crust influence (evidenced by the Broken Bones and Amebix covers appended to the special edition). No fancy technicality though the execution is crisp and effective.

Highlights include the dark melodic bruise of "They Must Die Screaming" and the slower churn of "Dripping With Disgust," a tune that perfectly encapsulates its title. I also dig the staccato start-stop riff that opens "Burying The Hatchet," as well as the brief death-doom break halfway through the tune. The very percussive, very atmospheric "Cold, Deathless, Unrepentant" is another highlight and the crust influence rears its head quite distinctly throughout "Controlopolis (Rats In The Mask)," a whip-fast slice of death-y d-beat.

Killing Music may be Benediction's finest hour. Utterly re-invigorated, Benediction manage to update their original style without compromise and deliver their heaviest, filthiest record to date. Sadly, we've had no output from them since this release. I would certainly be interested to hear how they would capitalize on this record's biting intensity.