Goregrind and brutal death metal gets a lot of criticism flung its way, but it gives abuse as good as it gets too.
This attitude may be why many bands that fall within these genre brackets tend not to evolve too much musically, staying focused on the task at hand, trying to prove its worth and upping the intensity of their gore-obsessed, bile-soaked riffs.
France’s Benighted find themselves in this scenario, though to their credit, they’ve eschewed some of their song titles describing the tired clichés of misogyny and rape (which is unfortunately rife in this strain of death metal) on this new effort ‘Carnivore Sublime’, though the artwork kind of lets it down in that regard and what it’s actually supposed to mean is anyone’s guess.
It can be seen as indicative of the band’s sound too. Throughout the record, Benighted will momentarily spring out of the brutal DM school of thought and launch into a riff that’s a little more daring and even melodic.
However, it’s the band’s frequent inability to fully commit to this change that leaves the album high and dry, recoiling back into chugging riffs and piggy squeals to complete a song, a formula that is still the backbone of ‘Carnivore Sublime’.
The album’s accompanying press release describes it as “crushing like a 666 ton steamroller steered by an extremely enraged tyrannosaurus rex”. PR hyperbole aside, the phrase more or less sums up ‘Carnivore Sublime’, where brutality exists simply for the sake of brutality, ignoring the flourishes of dynamic that the band, if even accidentally, tease every now and again.
‘Experience Your Flesh’ isn’t exactly a song that will convert nay-sayers but its addition of searing higher pitched guest vocals makes for a break from the usual carnage.
However, it always feels like a quick detour before returning to familiar roads as follow-up ‘Slaughter Suicide’ will prove with its guttural grunts and blasting overkill.
A track like ‘Les Morsures du Cerbère’ has another one of those flickers, with melodic passages that are dramatic in their scope, almost recalling Fuck the Facts.
‘Carnivore Sublime’ exhibits moments of tasteful riffing and Benighted stick out from the brutal pack at times, and should they ever commit to this on a greater scale, we could be looking at a slightly more interesting prospect. For now, not so much.
2/5 – Jonathan Keane ::: 06/01/14