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Beaten To Death – Unplugged – Album Review

Source // Beaten To Death

Okay, so you wake up one day and find yourself in a Grindcore band. You glance at the calendar and go: “Shit! It’s 2015 and my band grinds like it’s 1987.”

Tough start to the day.

So, to remedy the shocker you’re having, you call a band meeting and you go: “Listen lads, we are going to do everything in our power to distance ourselves from Metal conventions. We are going to have pithy song titles and write a biography with words like ‘unique’, ‘daring’ and ‘dangerous’ in it. Furthermore, we’re goddamn well going to record our shit live, right here in the studio and that’ll show everyone what unique, trend-bucking musicians we are.”

Welcome to the world of Beaten to Death and their terribly-wittily-titled third album, Unplugged. In short, we are talking simplistic song structures which, for all their live looseness, do boast some interesting percussive dynamics, mountainous bass and eerie, almost blackened-sounding guitar figures. But, contrary to their claims, Beaten To Death never do more than flip an occasional derisive middle finger to the Grindcore blueprint. That’s right; if you want senseless, withering blast beats in every song, you’ve come to the right place. Add to that a vocalist who gurgles so wretchedly that he sounds like he’s taken a deflected 5.56mm round through his right lung and we’re sorry to report that these Oslo-based folks have found themselves lost in translation.

Recording everything live is a noble aim and in the land where performance, preternaturally enhanced by Pro Tools is king, it’s to be applauded. Sure, there are moments on Unplugged where a good riff, some neat drumming or a sloganeering scream-along break free of the melee but it’s all too brief. Moments of artistic expression are quickly wiped away by regressive grind-by-numbers.

Some might say that Grindcore is the main artery that connects Death Metal with the Hardcore Punk scene that originally informed it and is, therefore, an integral part of our culture. Whatever. In the case of Beaten to Death, their sense of Punk irreverence is too much of a focal point and this band – a side project for most of it’s members – sounds like someone’s idea of a joke.

“Don’t You Dare to Call Us Heavy Metal?”

Don’t worry lads, we won’t. 3/10


About Stuart Bell (55 Articles)
I was born in 1975 with a pile of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple vinyl next to my cot. I ate off a sheet of ply-board propped up between two Marshall cabs and shortly after I learned to read and write I learned the E minor chord and the pentatonic scale. One day my Dad bought me Iron Maiden's first album. Metallica's Ride the Lightning followed. Then, things got serious. I have held almost every rank in the Army of Heavy Metal: Fan, drunk fan, roadie, guitarist, producer and label scout. My Wife knows what Mastodon's Crack The Skye is about and my child can play Breaking the Law on piano. Go figure.

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