Benighted – Carnivore Sublime (Season of Mist)

Sunday, 16th February 2014
Rating: 9/10

“Can a human sing like this?” That was the question posed to me by my four-year-old son (yes, he loves heavy metal) as he listened to Benighted’s seventh album, Carnivore Sublime.  It’s a fair question, as vocalist Julien Truchan spends the better part of 38-minutes gurgling, squealing, growling, roaring, and shouting his way through the album in schizophrenic delight.  Following up the excellent Asylum Cave was no easy feat, but it seems these Frenchmen were up for the task, as Carnivore Sublime sees the band again at the top of their game.

The key to Benighted’s success has always been their ability to blend a multitude of death metal and grind influences with reckless abandon to create something that is equally heavy as well as catchy.  Always ready to change gears on the fly (much like Truchan’s vocals), a track like “Les Morsures du Celebere” finds traction in its groove, yet a wildly melodic segment elevates things, only to drop down to a slow crawl.  The track ends with much blasting, and is a solid testament to Benighted’s finesse when it comes to transitioning without sounding like a sloppy mess.  Additionally, the band’s knack for groove is second-to-none, evidenced by songs like “Experience Your Flesh” and “Jekyll.”

Benighted also keep things fresh by throwing curveballs throughout the disc.  There’s the afore-mentioned melodic piece in “Les Mosures du Celebere” but that’s just the start of the festivities.  Utilizing an unexpected shout of “You sick fuck” followed by blasting begins opener “X2Y,” the mellow tribal-esque segment of “Carnivore Sublime,” and ending the disc with a girl singing only to jump back in for one final blast on “June and the Laconic Solstice” are a few more oddities you can look out for through the disc.

There are few bands in modern death metal that can match Benighted in terms of their bludgeoning approach.  Certain to be one of the year’s most brutal offerings, Carnivore Sublime captures a glimpse of a band that after seven albums, manages to keep things fresh and interesting in a genre known for being stagnant.

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