Benighted – Ekbom (Season of Mist)

Monday, 8th April 2024
Rating: 8.5/10

A staple in the brutal death metal and grind arenas for their ability to bring utter chaos and intensity to all that they do, Benighted, much like a number of bands that released music at the onset of the pandemic, are just now coming back with a new album. Ekbom is their tenth album since forming over 25 years ago, and it handles the band’s nightmarish qualities and channels them into songs about, well nightmares. Based on Ekbom Syndrome, or a belief that one’s body is covered by invisible insects, seems a perfect match for Benighted’s crazed music, their newest album continues the same level of brutality and abrasion that keep them held at high regard in the scene.

As with any Benighted release, the result is a musical battering ram. Benighted do nothing if they don’t hit you from the start with full intensity. After a brief, moody intro with “Prodome,” “Scars” jumps immediately into the deep end with frantic riffing, incessant blasting, and the usual caustic array of vocals that Julien Truchan is quite well know for. Buzzy, near-black metal melodies, thundering mid-tempo slowdowns, and more still continue to pepper the mix as the song all but bounces off the walls, and serves as an apt reminder of the audial pounding that Benighted is capable of…all while keeping the listener engaged instead of dulling the senses. “Morgue” continues to wield the same level of intensity to it, weaving in some frantic yet hooky melodies into the track as it rages on. It’s about what you would expect from the veteran act, and they continue to jackhammer along through the album, but with some tracks digging further into different aspects. “A Reason for Treason” essentially rolls it’s way through massive, ear-worming grooves amid some speed runs, and acts as one of the most destructive songs in that regard. “Le Vice des Entrailles” feels like it ups the epic quotient,  with the buzzsaw guitar and melodies chewing up scenery until a strong build up at the chorus, which takes its swings with grooves and later digs into more atmospheric moments. “Metastasis” also carries plenty of groove, but the melodies temper it to feel like another one of the more melodic songs on the album, while still providing plenty of teeth-baring moments of violence. “Scapegoat” provides a quick burst of pummeling grooves and sonic blasts, for those seeking something on the more chaotic side of the fence.

All is quite well in the Benighted camp, and Ekbom serves of the same level of brash and haunting intensity that fans of extreme metal will enjoy. Plenty of hooks and grooves, but merged with unhinged speed and visceral energy, it’s always a trip that stays memorable despite the controlled chaos that ensues. Ekbom is pure caustic fun.

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