Benighted
Ekbom


4.0
excellent

Review

by NexCeleris USER (3 Reviews)
April 14th, 2024 | 59 replies


Release Date: 04/12/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: No, not the tree

"Ekbom" is the Swedish word for oak. You know who else was Swedish? A neurologist of the same name primarily renowned for his publications on two medical conditions, which were eventually named after him: Ekbom syndrome, also known as delusional parasitosis, and the Willis-Ekbom disease, commonly referred to as restless legs syndrome.

While the former served as an inspiration for this tenth full-length by French deathgrind outfit Benighted, as evidenced by the cover artwork and the title track’s lyrics, the latter would be a perfectly valid explanation for the relentless blasting the listener is greeted with after Ekbom’s somber intro "Prodrome". Kévin Paradis, who joined the currently four-piece band in 2017, has long proven his talents (check out last year’s Shambhallic Vibrations by Lunar Chamber for a more varied showcase of his skills) and puts his honed craft on display throughout the album, seamlessly fusing extreme drumming techniques and imbuing the compositions with surprisingly playful touches on all of the heads and cymbals his kit comprises. As far as public record goes, he fortunately doesn’t suffer from RLS.

Benighted had started leaning towards the death metal side of their genre with their two previous outings. This time, they managed to strike a good balance between tracks with a more traditional grindcore structure ("Fame of the Grotesque", "Scapegoat", "Flesh Against Flesh") and those with more emphasis on contemporary elements ("Scars", "Le Vice des Entrailles", "Nothing Left to Fear"), going as far as to incorporate the occasional breakdown. This mixture makes Ekbom a deathgrind experience in the truest sense and tremendously helps it avoid the trappings of the two superordinate genres, meaning it may very well turn out to be a fun ride for listeners who shudder at the thought of an album consisting of 30 samey one-minute grind songs.

Julien Truchan’s vocal chords sound like they haven’t aged a day in the 26 years that have gone by since the group’s inception. There’s no broken tee-hee-heeth here, but still plenty of ees, wees and a downright impressive variety of lows ranging from gnarly false chords to low-pitched gargling that at one point sounds like they mixed it with the sound of someone taking a bong rip. Actually, they might have just done exactly that.

Production, mixing and mastering duties were handled by the Frenchmen’s longtime partner in crime, Kristian Kohlmannslehner. Kohle is like the German equivalent to Dave Otero, aiming for a polished, decidedly modern sound, and it shows here. The sound as a whole does indeed feel very polished and lacks the abrasiveness typically associated with grindcore. However, the special attention given to the drums should not be understated. The kick sounds expectedly uniform, but there are many moments sprinkled throughout the tracks where the rest of the kit sounds like an actual instrument rather than a mere arrangement of samples. The bass ranges from pronounced and prominent to barely audible during the more hectic passages. You’re not missing out on noodlecore here, though.

Ekbom marks a high point for Benighted. Not only does it feature all their trademarks, but it feels like the culmination of their sound, the result of years and years of refining it. Its overall dark, at times blackened tone is interspersed with quirky little details. It‘s highly energetic, elegant in its simplicity and, most of all, fun.


user ratings (47)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
NexCeleris
April 14th 2024


50 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This one's for Drunk.

I'm a simple man and liked this better than Vault of Horrors. 3.8

Panzerchrist
April 14th 2024


730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

As a huge Benighted fan, this didn't click with me at all on my initial listen. Admittedly, it might have to do with the idea that they were potentially moving back towards a more black metal sound (which I think would really give their more modern style a touch more variety), and that doesn't really seem to be the case at all, bar a few places.



Still, I find most of their recent works to mostly get better the more I listen to them, so maybe it'll still land with me eventually.

dachstheangry
April 14th 2024


241 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Top album. Vocals are absolutely insane.

YuriZakhaev
April 14th 2024


1061 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ahrd, Julien sounds as great as ever

NightOnDrunkMountain
Contributing Reviewer
April 14th 2024


646 Comments


Awesome, greatly written! Glad to see it up, and the album rocks!

NexCeleris
April 14th 2024


50 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"As a huge Benighted fan, this didn't click with me at all on my initial listen. Admittedly, it might have to do with the idea that they were potentially moving back towards a more black metal sound"

Yeah, I wouldn't hold my breath. N'Guyen and Gabriel moved away from that style pretty rapidly after Psychose and neither of them are in the band at this point.

Writing-wise, the trio of Gabriel, Dalle and Goulon came up with the best ideas, I reckon. That said, Dalle did a great job trimming the fat and getting to the point while still keeping things fresh on Ekbom.

Judging by your ratings, I think you'll come around on what seems like a harsh 2.5.



NexCeleris
April 14th 2024


50 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers, Drunk! Honestly, you probably could have checked out their whole discography and written a rev in the time this took me.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2024


10733 Comments


Excellent review, pos, keep writing man.

I have this album bookmarked as well, gonna jam when the new Necrot album allows me so.

NexCeleris
April 14th 2024


50 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

High praise coming from you. Thanks a lot!

Dedes
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2024


10030 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shall check, Benighted own hard and its absolutely nutty to think the band has been around for this goddamn long and still manage to be as monstrously intense as they are. The stretch from Identisick-Asylum Cave may be unfuckwithable but imo they've always managed to be at least -somewhat- fun.

NexCeleris
April 15th 2024


50 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow, thanks for the feature!

NightOnDrunkMountain
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2024


646 Comments


Nice, congrats

jemaiseyeti
April 15th 2024


282 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, fully agree with your score. One of the most consistently great DM bands currently around

NexCeleris
April 15th 2024


50 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks! Even during their heyday around Icon/Asylum Cave, they never got the recognition they deserved. They're a hard-working band and still pull off absolutely tight live shows.

PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2024


1562 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah awesome review- still need to check this one

NexCeleris
April 15th 2024


50 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Pump! Feels great to get good feedback from y'all.

I wish Nocte and NoTrap were around to rev even more dm. The year has only just begun and there's already a heap of high-quality releases that have gone largely unnoticed.

No doubt the new Defeated Sanity, Ulcerate, Gorguts etc. will be covered day one, but it's the less popular stuff like this little gem that will fly under the radar and sit at 15ish ratings without front page exposure.

NightOnDrunkMountain
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2024


646 Comments


I really agree, there's several albums already out or on the way that should get a review but maybe won't. You can maybe start picking up a few from now on ;)



DType
April 15th 2024


2650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaps

NexCeleris
April 15th 2024


50 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"You can maybe start picking up a few from now on ;)"

I'd love to, but being a non-native speaker makes this way too time-consuming to do on a regular basis, unfortunately. Plus, regardless of fluency, it would never sound remotely as poetic as the stuff you guys come up with. Ngl, this has been encouraging, so I will chip in when I can.

NexCeleris
April 15th 2024


50 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And yes, this album does have lots of bangers, especially in the first half. Scars and Morgue go hard af.



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