Review Summary: Organized chaos.
There's something so satisfying in the maniacal. People are fascinated with slaughter films, they are fascinated with taxidermy, hell some people are even interested in having collections of skulls and animal bones. It's really hard to say what drives such a morbid curiosity, which leads me to Benighted. For those who don't know, Benighted is a brutal death metal/grindcore band from Saint-Etienne, France. Benighted has always been renowned for a frenzied style of absolutely punishing death metal, only further amplified by some rather uncomfortable samples and some very psychotic lyrical themes. In fact, this is the story of "Necrobreed"-a schizophrenic stitches dead animals to their abdomen in a ritual to "give birth" and build his own morbid family (actual words from vocalist Julien Truchan). Julien is ardent in his attempts at manifesting the most devious fucked up stuff the human mind will allow, and here he certainly does not falter. Is any of this because he works at a mental institution and his daily life revolves around this? Most likely.
Everything Benighted does off this album is absolutely ridiculous in the best way possible. From the tormented shriek opening "Reptilian" to the gang shouts off of "Psychosilencer", the album builds piece by piece upon it's own ugly, deviant form. It's well known that Julien has an expansive range of vocal styles, and Necrobreed really only adds to his impressive repertoire of inhuman sounds. From the most ferocious gutturals to the most blood curdling shrieks, it leads one to wonder whether there is any form of extreme vocals Julien cannot pull off with such constant power. Further coupling this are the disturbing samples. This is what somewhat polarized me. I understand they're building the concept, but I personally get really put off when I hear the sounds of a dog being slaughtered off of "Forgive Me Father". On the flip side, this pushes the envelope further into the realms of horror and madness, and considering the story, is this really that inappropriate? Off this album, Benighted has no qualms about petrifying the listener at points. This album is a descent into madness right to its core.
Even without knowledge of the story this album is still extreme enjoyable. The guitar work is incredibly proficient, never mindless flaunting but always resplendent with some pulverizing riffs. Take the track "Leatherface" for example. It's chaotic, it's thick and heavy, and really just what you want out of a truly brutal record. This is enhanced by some truly ridiculous drum patterns and fills, which change almost constantly while avoiding any level of unnecessary drum bashing. The patterns compliment the music instead of completely stealing the show. This is truly impressive considering how easy it is for their to be a power struggle between instruments off an album of this nature. This album may be tumultuous but it's far from being a disappointing mess. This is organized chaos.
If there were a qualm about this album aside from the dog sample, it would be the pornogrind gurgles off of "Leatherface". It's only in this moment where it feels like Benighted crosses musical boundaries in the wrong way. Otherwise this album is excellent if you define excellent as an album that induces the need to destroy all in sight. Is it for critics of overly bombastic brutality for the sake of being heavy? Of course not. For those looking for the best pig squeals on the face of the earth? Of course.