Benighted

Asylum Cave

01. Asylum Cave
02. Let The Blood Spill Between My Broken Teeth
03. Prey
04. Hostile
05. Fritzl
06. Unborn Infected Children
07. The Cold Remains
08. A Quiet Day
09. Shadows Descend
10. Swallow
11. Lethal Merycism
12. Dworning

[3/29/11]
[Season of Mist]

So, in case you were unaware, Benighted are a pretty awesome deathgrind band. Now, I’m not too familiar with the grind scene, so whatever I say should be evaluated in the context of a death metal listener. Anyway, Benighted are a deathgrind band from France. Formed in 1998, their style is basically grindy riffs played with a brutal death metal flair and with extreme groove, brutal yet clear vocals that rasp or do very low growls and pig squeals, and superb drumming. Asylum Cave is their sixth album, following up 2007’s excellent Icon. Does it hold up as well as Icon? We’ll see.

Of course, being Benighted, the album contains several elements that are designed to piss off the average death metal fan. The album opens with a cheesy sample, and then goes into straight grinding mode. Immediately recognizable is the fact that the tones are much fuller and much more crushing compared to Icon. That in itself is a good thing. The vocals are superb as usual, and the riffing is even faster than Icon. The songs are quite catchy (as catchy as brutal death metal can be), and there are a slew of groovy sections in each song. The songs are all the perfect length, not being too short and not overstaying their welcome. “Asylum Cave” is especially concert-worthy with vocal lines you can chant to, awesome lead sections and grooves you can break your neck to. This song is pretty typical of Benighted, and it’s pretty good.

Another standout track is “Let The Blood Spill Between My Broken Teeth.” It opens with a crushing riff, and the vocals recite the song title with brutal yet clear pig squeals, and what follows is good old grindcore. This song is pretty reminiscent of Icon‘s tracklist, but it shares a problem with other songs on this album: They’re just not as catchy. Now, this track is my favorite off of the album, and it is still quite catchy, but none of these are as memorable as “Slut”, “Saw it All”, or “Grind Wit;” But let me reiterate, this song is great.

“Hostile” is also pretty fast and memorable, and is another standout track. The band is an example of tightness, the picking and drumming is so tight that it almost bleeds, and the improved production brings out the strong points of Benighted even further. Vocalist Julien Truchan seems to get better at doing his wide range of screams better and better with each album. “Fritzl” and “Unborn Infected Children” are pretty good too, and they’re still some of the better tracks on the album. “The Cold Remains” and “A Quiet Day” break the flow, being not as special as the rest.

Interestingly, there’s more of a tech death flavor on ”Shadows Descend”, and even though they don’t go too deep into that territory, it might be interesting to see the band explore this kind of direction more. “Swallow” is not worth a mention but “Lethal Mercyism” is pretty cool. Finally, there’s “Drowning”, which isn’t worth noting too much, except for the short turntable section in the middle. Benighted seem to enjoy pissing off the average death metal listener, there was a rapping section on a song on Icon, but with both that and this very short turntable part, I feel like they could do interesting things if they weren’t too afraid to deviate from the norm.

Overall, Asylum Cave isn’t bad, but it’s mostly not too noteworthy. It’s ridiculously brutal, and the production is pretty good while the playing is insane; but isn’t really memorable, except for a few songs. If you intend on purchasing it, you might as well listen to some tracks and purchase standout tracks separately if you can, since there is no cohesion in the overall album anyway. If you like what you hear here, you should definitely check out 2007’s Icon, because that’s definitely a standout album and one of the bests of the genre for me.

 

Benighted – Asylum Cave gets…

3.5/5

-N

 

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