WORDS: Laura McCarthy
Describing a band such as BEATEN TO DEATH is never easy. Sure, they pronounce themselves as melody grind, but what does that actually mean? Listen to Unplugged and you might get a better indication.
There are hints of MASTODON in songs such as Menstrubation and End Of An Era in terms of sound if not perhaps subject matter. There is a slight prog element here, but this is much more like very experimental metal. However, upon listening to the quite aggressive Don’t You Dare Call Us Heavy Metal, perhaps there is some other genre this band are creating. Yet it can’t be denied that there are parts to this album that are heavy as hell. Fans of CATTLE DECAPITATION or DISCORDANCE AXIS will surely be into this album.
Whatever it is, these short bursts of energy are hugely captivating. Every track on this record is less than two minutes long, which gives you the chance to listen again and again without getting bogged down. The vocals are a huge part in making this album stand apart, but the true complicated stuff comes from the playing of the band itself. Sure enough, this takes music places hard to describe.
The rawness of BEATEN TO DEATH is undeniable. Each track punches through harder and more assertive than the last, beating down into hard hitting tracks such as Papyrus Containing The Spell To Summon… and then tracks like Death To False Grindcore being oddly melodic. The small, and they truly are small, breakdowns are very well placed. Tip of the hat, it is hard to punch this much energy into a track shorter than the time it takes to brush your teeth. Home of Phobia is a particular stand out track, vocal elements in some instances as good as Angela Gossow from ARCH ENEMY. You have to be very confident within yourselves to create music like this, and thank goodness that BEATEN TO DEATH have consistently delivered whatever weird, mental music this is.
BEATEN TO DEATH will never be everyone’s cup of tea. There’s perhaps too much going on in too short a time space, and perhaps the outright refusal to be known as metal is a tad affected. On the other hand, this could be a truly inspired grind album, pushing boundaries and really trying something new and unapologetic. The sound essentially is urgent and aggressive, but then again there is that wonderfully melodic rooting. It’s nothing really like prog, there’s not enough movement between sounds and the songs are much too short for that formula. Unplugged is much too heavy to be called anything close to rock, yet isn’t quite what you’d class as metal. It’s perhaps BEATEN TO DEATH are simply a melding pot of ideas and sounds? In any case, this album as with the bands last, is all recorded live in one take, the sense of urgency within this third instalment carries thought as with the others. Should you be looking for something a little screwball, a little off kilter, and wonderfully so, then wholeheartedly throw yourself into this album.
Unplugged is out 9th of October, with Mas-Kina Recordings