21 minutes of grindcore oddity that really shouldn’t work…
Review by Jason Guest
Release date: 9 October 2015
Oslo’s Beaten To Death dropped into my inbox in 2011 with their debut album Xes and Strokes, an album that delivered grind, death and hardcore with a touch of melodic violence swiftly and directly to the cranium. Bludgeoning us out of existence with thirteen tracks that not once broke the two-minute barrier, every single one of them shoved, tugged, tore, bit, masticated, and gobbed ferocity at neck-breaking velocity. Along with its colourful artwork, their 2013 album Dødsfest! saw the band refining their sound and pushing further into madcap and maniacal territory. 2015 and album number three, Unplugged – an ironic title since everything is plugged in and cranked! – is upon us.
Lunatic drumming, concrete-chomping vocals, huge distorted bass-lines, and brick wall riffage, when BTD get down and dig onto the grime, the tracks do more than the usual bump ‘n grind. Occasionally, there’s a slow bit where the band toy with a melodic guitar phrase, the guitar’s treble cranked to leave the drums and the bass to provide some nasty groundwork for the vocals to grunt deathly, squeal pigly or accuse hardcorely. It can feel gimmicky at times, as if there’s an in-joke that they’re trying to let us in on but we’re not quite sure how funny it is, but the humour, a staple of the grind genre, is more than evident and is matched by the intensity of the tempo and dynamic shifts that spans the album.
What stands out here is that the band has achieved more closely what they wanted to with their debut. Raucous, unrestrained and inventive, BTD shift across and between their musical abilities effortlessly, the songs displaying not only their instrumental skills but also their compositional abilities and, more importantly, their capacity for making what should be senseless make sense. Again, BTD have delivered some top quality grind with a bunch of irregular oddities melted in to the framework that really shouldn’t work but do. And very well.
7.5 out of 10
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