Back in the early 90’s, the underground had already woken up to Benediction’s brutal output with the release of debut album Subconscious Terror but it was only when Dave Ingram took the place of the Napalm Death bound Barney Greenway that Benediction moved swiftly up the ranks. Benediction had found their man and an iron-lunged performance from one of the busiest men in modern death metal elevated the likes of The Grand Leveller (1991) and Transcend the Rubicon (1993) onto the same playing field as the likes of Obituary and Scream Bloody Gore era Death.
Big Dave would leave in 1998, to be replaced by the equally savage Dave Hunt (Anaal Nathrakh) but, to be honest, Benediction really weren’t the same without him.
Fast forward to 2020 and Benediction return with Scriptures, their first album since 2008’s relatively effective Killing Music and the first point of considerable note is that Scriptures marks the happy return of ever-busy frontman Dave Ingram, after a shocking 21 years away from the Benediction fold. His return is beyond welcome as this man’s delivery is as committed and direct as ever.
Let’s also take the time to acknowledge the fact that founding members/guitarists Darren Brookes and Peter Rew sound re-energised here, re-born even, with the pair fashioning a selection of old-school riffs that positively reek of death and decay as the band ably rewind the clock back to the glory days of death metal. What we’re saying is that Scriptures turns its collective back on technicality and showboating in favour of all-out war and head-banging nirvana; no bells or whistles needed, just pure death metal violence concisely delivered by musicians who intrinsically understand the craft!
As enamoured with the most brutal thrash as it is death metal, Scriptures simply lets fly with a shit-storm of catchy carnage in aural form. Obliterating opener “Scriptures Of I” is unadulterated deathly thrashing rage and a blast of old-school malevolence that ticks all the right boxes. That being said, the mid-tempo grooves that informed much of their earlier work is still evident on the crushing “In Our Hands, the Scars” and the Bolt Thrower-esque stomp of “Tear Off These Wings”. Perhaps ironically, it’s first single “Rabid Carnality” which is the weakest, a song that lacks the intensity of those that surround it but that’s a minor quibble when the album is consumed as a whole.
While expectations were understandably high for this album, it’s fair to say that Scriptures is an unmitigated success and rivals anything released by the old-school aping new pups of 2020.
How have Benediction achieved this?
By simply sticking to their guns and crafting the kind of ‘comeback’ album that will leave fans in raptures and should also eandear them to newbies who are yet to encounter one of the finest old-school death metal bands around.
Put simply, Scriptures is a blistering return from one of the UK’s most beloved death metal bands. 8/10
Benediction’s Scriptures was released TODAY via Nuclear Blast.