Benighted
Carnivore Sublime

Although they started back in 2000 as a black/death act with nods to early Opeth (hence the band name), now France’s Benighted is a filthy, ultra-groovy and much different beast altogether. Most of their albums, including 2011’s excellent (and, for me, list-topping) Asylum Cave, are like being flung around inside a brutal death/grind bounce house packed with churning guitars, jackhammer ratatat percussion, an asylum’s worth of demented vocals and perforated with throat-shredding BREEEEEs. That BREEEE-BREEEEE sound may be reviled by many metalheads, but Benighted owns and wears it like a badge of crispy, blood-smeared bacon. These guys know who they are, they know what they like, and lucky for me, I like it too.

Other death metal acts may be all about the slaughter, but these guys are professional butchers. They take the best elements of their chosen genres and slice them down to their bloody essences: the speedy insanity of grindcore, the murderous lurch and bestial roar of brutal death, and grooves so deep they cut to the bone. Carnivore Sublime is one hugely entertaining track after another, each one expertly carved and served up like a juicy slab of meat. No gristle, no fat, just barely seared muscle all juicy and delicious. “Noise,” “Defiled Purity,” and “Collection of Dead Portraits” are some of my immediate favorites, but the entire album is fantastic from start to finish.

Julian “Truch” Truchan uses deep growls, guttural mutters, grindy shrieks and plenty of Deliverance pig squeals, and his restless approach keeps things varied and entertaining. Same goes for the songwriting – pacing and structure are expertly varied and arranged, with a careful balance between addictive groove and entertaining change-ups. It’s complex without being showy, and viscerally satisfying without being overly simple.

There’s also just the right amount of melody to keep the blood flowing. It’s definitely not melodic death, but it’s also far from monolithic. Listen below the thunder in tracks like “Experience Your Flesh,” “Slaughter/Suicide,” and “Les Morsures du Cerbure,” and you’ll hear hints of creeping dread and cataclysmic terror. (There’s also a nifty long pig nightmare of tribal cannibal percussion halfway through the title track which put a smile on my face.) These melodic strains elevate the songs above your average relentless beatdowns, and at times, reminded me of moments from the band’s one-time namesake.

Ever since fellow writer Larry Owens turned me onto Asylum Cave a few years ago, Benighted has become one of my favorite death metal acts in any sub-genre. Other similar albums have also satisfied that brutal death/grind bloodlust since then (Cattle Decapitation’s Monolith of Inhumanity and Aborted’s Global Flatline, to name a couple), but I have mostly been salivating for Carnivore Sublime. It was a meal worth waiting for, and one I will be regurgitating onto my year-end list come December.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
February 24th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: Luke_22

    Yeah another top notch album, if not quite the masterpiece that Asylum Cave was. These dudes are just shit-hot songwriters with the chops to back it up. And I love the curveballs they through in from time to time. Great stuff.


  2. Commented by: Rabid1

    I’ve not heard anything prior to ICP, which was good, but this band has produced nothing less than stellar since Identisick. Benighted has become synonymous with consistent quality.


  3. Commented by: Guilliame

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