Beaten to Death – Unplugged (Mas-Kina Recordings)Thursday, 15th October 2015
Norwegian grind leaders have effectively succeeded where most bands of their ilk fail: They are unique, identifiable, and most of all, pretty gosh darn good. DR first stumbled upon the band via their excellent 2011 album Xes and Strokes, which was bettered two years later with Dodsfest! (Exclamation point part of the album title, although we do have plenty of enthusiasm for the LP.) What makes Beaten to Death and third album Unplugged a go is a combination of their stripped-down guitar tone (distortion is almost an afterthought), along with songs that are, as per grind standards, short, but jostling, melodic, and kamikaze.
Per their previous efforts, the band has no shortage of humorous song titles. “Home of Phobia” is great; so is “Don’t You Dare to Call Us Heavy Metal,” which may eventually emerge as sort of an ironic rallying cry for the band. Point being, the comedic, lighthearted element that propelled Beaten to Death’s last two albums is in full force here, perhaps moreso given how gnashing a song like “Don’t You Dare to Call Us Heavy Metal” is. Elsewhere, the mammoth lift-off supplied by gravity blast beats snaps songs like “I Keep Stalling” and “Promise of Catharsis” into action, while the unbridled bursts of energy found on “End of an Error” (cue up the relaxed, melodic intro) and the not-so-tidy “Troll” are as we’ve come learn with this Norwegian bunch, almost prototypical jaunts.
With no one really willing to take grind into new places, it’s Beaten to Death who appear to be the only band with their slant to the sound these days. Three albums in a row the band have set ‘em up, and knocked ‘em down, which rightfully suggests the new breed of grindcore is staring everyone right in the face…all the way from Norway.