March 15, 2012

Benighted - Asylum Cave (2011)

I've never really payed much attention to Benighted, but their latest offering has managed to take me by surprise and pummel me into a bloody mess. It seems that they set out to mix as many elements from various metal subgenres as possible and the result is, well... fantastic.

One listen of any song on Asylum Cave and you'll be assaulted by a flurry of intense grinding, slamming and stomping, relentless, energetic drumming, groove-laden riffs and even some melodic death metal, all of these seamlessly molding together to create a metal hotpot of intense flavor (great, now I'm sort of hungry). The vocalist is similarly chaotic - he spews forth guttural growls, high-pitched shrieks and disgusting pig squeals with equal ease, mixing and matching and often overlapping these various vocal styles to great effect.

Using too many different elements bears the risk of ending up with a random, unintelligible mess, but Benighted seem to have become masters of this trade, being able to take the best out of both all worlds, mix it all together and in the end come up with something that's at once enthralling and entertaining, catchy and heavy, brutal, yet strangely groovy. Sure, it won't be everybody's cup of tea - the BREE-REEEEEEEEs alone are aggravating enough to warrant shutting down the record altogether - and metal purists will shun this, deeming it a worthless hodge-podge, but if you're anything like me - that is, willing to turn a blind eye to a few innocent faux pas - you'll surely find something to enjoy in Asylum Cave.

Did I mention they're French?

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