Does fun belong in music? Or more specifically: does fun belong in grindcore? And I don’t mean the porn or gore variant (I admit, some of those guys make me smile occasionally), just your regular meat and taters grindcore. The crazy heavy metallers of Beaten To Death seem to think so. How else to explain this album title of song titles like “Extremely Run To The Hills” or “Boy George Michael Bolton”? And somehow it works wonders for them.
Beaten To Death is Norwegian grindcore act and Agronomicon is their fourth album. The band has had a good roll with three great records. In my opinion their second album Dødsfest! is their best yet, but third album Unplugged is right up there with it. Can Agronomicon top the quality grindcore offered on it’s predecessors? I have to conclude it can not. Don’t let that stop you checking this out, as this is some top quality grindcore! In fact, if I hadn’t listened to this record only after compiling my end of year list it would have ranked high on there. The fact it doesn’t top the albums that came before it says more about those albums!
Let’s change our focus a bit so I can try to describe what madness is unleashed on Agronomicon. We already have established Beaten To Death feel there should be fun in grindcore. They are also doing something that I thought was nigh impossible: they include heaps and heaps of melody in their songs. Combine that with the light guitar sound they have created a sound that you’ll not find anywhere else. A band with a unique sound is a rare thing to encounter. That alone should be enough to make you spin this record. But, back to those sweet, sweet melodies. There’s actually less then there used to be. The band is adding a bit darker sound to the mix.
There’s a couple things that stand out. The bass sound on “Grind Korn” is really Korn, but than in a grind setting. At 1.10 a melody is added that I am sure is of some pop-song, I just can’t pinpoint which one. It’s on the tip of my tongue, but… That’s not the only time crazy references are added. On album closer “Eternal Punished Septic” there’s a black metal-like part. I’m not sure if this is stolen from a specific band or just mocking black metal. Whichever it is, it is incorporated in such a way it is actually a natural part of the song instead of an obvious spoof.
Production wise I am a wee bit disappointed. The production is a bit too bass heavy in my opinion. The balance in the sound is a bit lost this way. That was handled better on their previous outings. This is only a minor error that doesn’t hurt the listening experience to be honest. Beaten To Death do not disappoint and have added another twelve bangers to their discography that you should definitely check out if you haven’t already!
8.5 / 10
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Posted Aug. 19, 2013, 7:36 p.m.
Norwegian grindcore band Beaten To Death are preparing to release Dødsfest, their upcoming second album on Mas-Kina Recordings.
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