Beaten To Death – Dødsfest!


Though oxygen was needed in copious amounts in the aftercare needed following listening to the raw and nasty deluge that was Xes And Strokes; it was a violation with a destructive intensity which was viscerally hostile but well worth the suffering such its creative ferocity and mischief. Now a year and a half later or so, Norwegian band Beaten To Death return with its successor, another must have corrosion of grindcore for which paramedics on speed dial is a must. Bestial and malicious with that underlying devilry and humour which marked their debut, the Oslo quintet turn up the agony and pleasure with twelve tracks of vicious corruptive noise to leave ears bleeding and passions seeping.

Beaten To Death was formed in 2011 by guitarists Martin Rygge and Tommy Hjelm (both of metal quartet Insense), and drummer Christian “Bartender” Svendsen (of Tsjuder, The Cumshots), the trio soon joined by bassist Mika Martinussen and vocalist Anders Bakke (of She Said Destroy). Debut album Xes and Strokes immediately set the senses running for cover whilst aflame with addiction, its nineteen minute onslaught causing more damage and pleasure than a fair number of the weighty extensive extreme metal releases savaging the ear at the time. Now Dødsfest! does the same to again leave so many other bands simultaneously seeming lumbering and lightweight.

Like its predecessor, the new album is released via Mas-Kina Recordings and instantly has ear and senses in its jaw with opener Vulpes beatentodeath_dodfestVulpes, Mustela Lutreola, Praedium. Drum slaps trigger a fury of sonic pestilence with a blackened breath to vocals and intensity before dropping into an intensive groove which ignites a flame of contagion gripped passion, even with the caustic animosity of the vocals which twist around their delivery across the two minute torrent of evolving thrilling noise. Getting stronger and more potent the further into its squall the track epitomises the album and its creative tempest in one lethal stroke.

The following ravishments of The Egg Thrower and Krepsekamp keep flesh and emotions sore and greedy, the first with its rapacious rubbing of the ear through acidic riffs and intertwined melodic teases and the second with a hellacious serpentine fire of sonic blistering veined by again deceptive melodic taunting and rhythmic punctuation to the furious confrontation. The tracks are short, barely enough time to make that emergency call but so powerful and potently virulent that hunger is the only real lasting outcome.

True Norwegian Internet Metal Warrior is a carnivorous predator which starts with a mild, well in comparison to other moments, scrubbing of the ear and like the opener takes time to boil up its toxicity which subsequently emerges in a senses chewing, imagination coaxing, annihilatory prowl. Its strong presence is soon matched by firstly by the unbridled aural violence of the title track and then the perilous Erik Og Skrik. With vocals a guttural maelstrom rising and falling through numerous textures and sounds which find a predation even packs of wolves would run from, this twenty seven second cacophony of discordant grindcore toxin is a scintillating burning treat.

Next up Døv, Døvere, Død is almost tame, it’s opening melodic weave enchanting even around the insidious vocals and rhythmic juggling of enticing and crippling beats. It pushes the already open variety of the album further and into greater clarity whilst still uncaging some of the most repulsive riveting infectious animosity and sonic sadism possible. It is at this point where the band seems to explore other depths and corners of their creativity, the likes of Obliteration Of Nekromantheon and The Flesh Prince With Swell Hair employing more melodic entanglements for the senses and imagination to climb over as well as a hardcore element which brings to mind fellow Norwegians Shevils, through the pure spiteful fury of Nazi Slippers in between ensures there is no escape from or ideas of safety with Beaten To Death. The emergence of the violent sonic abuse and almost at times tender and mesmeric adventure is seamless and perfectly crafted leaving the listener cowering but equally seduced.

Aspen Hellweek and Vinni Butterfly complete a brilliant album in fine fearsome style, the first of the pair a snarling merciless beast and the latter an equally predacious cruelty with the bass and riff ingenuity which marks the whole album, especially vindictive within the rhythmic enslavement. They make for an exceptional closure to another ghastly joy from Beaten To Death. At times during Dødsfest! you wonder if there is a joke being also played beneath the turmoil on the listener, or a revelry we are not being let in on but it all adds to a thrilling and exhausting provocation with more rewards than a supermarket club card.


RingMaster 04/10/2013

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Beaten To Death – Xes And Strokes


Can there ever be a more apt name for a band than for Norwegian grindcore abusers Beaten To Death. From the moment the first blasted note rifles up the artillery to the wasted devastation left by the end of the crushingly intense experience their name is exactly how one feels. Brutal, relentless and completely vindictive Xes And Strokes shows no mercy but and a big but, Beaten To Death offer much more beneath their avalanche of crippling intent to make a debut album that hits that deliciously tender sweet spot, well it is tender after this quintet has finished.

Beaten to Death consisting of vocalist Anders Bakke (She Said Destroy), guitarists Martin Rygge and Tommy Hjelm  (both from Insense), drummer Christian “Bartender” Svendsen (Tsjuder, The Cumshots), and bassist Mika Martinussen, is far removed from the members ‘day jobs’, replacing the mighty technical intensity of Insense and She Said Destroy with no holds grindcore punishment. As mentioned the band does not just numb the senses but they also tease and tantalise them beneath their assault with scorched melodies and distracting grooves. Xes And Strokes is a ferocious maelstrom of venomous aggression, obliterating riffs, and incapacitating intensity, it is chaotic and often seemingly undefined but scrutiny and repeat plays shows it is carefully and wonderfully structured without detriment to its instinctive raw energy. Though merely nineteen minutes long across its nine tracks the release is a stunning violation veined with irresistible hooks and warped riffs.

Pointless Testament’ throws the first kick to the guts with an arsenal of unrepentant cruel riffs, senses battering rhythms and a beckoning groove, its brief stay leading into the brilliant ‘Winston Churchill’. A toxic bassline fuels the track as scorched guitars scythe across the ear and the bile spewing vocals rupture everything in sight. Already one knows what they are going to get but at the same time are thrown plenty of unpredictable elements and surprising moves. Fusing the likes of Brutal Truth, Fuck The Facts, and Down I Go, the sound is wonderfully excruciating at times and in other moments veined with siren like distorted melodies that make the whole experience blissful.

A Rolling Stones like groove that permeates the blistering heaviness of ‘On Running’ and the rebellious spiteful melodies that spike the impressive ‘3-2-1, It´s On!’ give two more diverse and rewarding bittersweet tracks to concrete the growing knowledge of how fine an album Beaten To Death has unleashed. Often with grindcore releases tracks blend into each other, their brief and violent stays indistinguishable due to the unrelenting speed they are thrust forth. With Xes And Strokes that is never a factor, yes most of the songs barely touch two minutes and pummel to equal merciless effect but each offers something varied and clear beneath the sonic war they rage to keep the album intriguing and fresh.

Xes And Strokes is bestial and nasty, malicious in the extreme but the likes of the flesh stripping ‘Cat Olympics’, the excellent ‘Groundhog Day’ with its itchy melodies and scathing bass sound, and the irresistibly acidulous title track just destroy and feed the senses to the equal effect.  The album is painfully raw and viscerally hostile but its corrosive intensity is tempered by those mesmeric, at times mischievous grooves and melodies. This is a must have for all grindcore fans especially if you are looking for a different take on the genre.

RingMaster 30/01/2012 Registered & Protected


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