0214 Benighted - Carnivore SublimeWhen you’re talking about what makes a record engaging, responsibility usually falls in the drummer’s lap. A guitarist may come up with a given riff, but it doesn’t truly take shape unless sculpted by capable limbs.

Death metal bands—especially of the “brutal” variety—have an overkill problem. They’re too busy, too serious, too caught up in their over-the-top culture. That cool riff the rhythm guitarist turns in is usually in danger of being strangled by octopus-powered flashsizzle. (Remember We Are the Nightmare? Or any Spawn of Possession song ever?) The result of such overkill? Teflon. A scribble-logo’d sea of arms-clasped, black-clad, NO SMILING, GODDAMMIT Teflon.

But somehow, Benighted always manages to stick.

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How? That drummer, mang. Going all the way back to 2006’s Identisick, this band has always had a knack for employing whip-smart rhythms, even if their major operational tactic is basically 1) chugchug, 2) BREE SCREEEEE!, 3) repeat. They manage to keep things exciting even when staring into the face of predictability.

And those vocals. Again, while the tactics aren’t novel when dissected, Benighted is supremely adept at Tetris-ing them into wicked little blocks of brutality. The unhinged hardcore barks that linchpinned their first single, “Experience Your Flesh,” added a welcome call-and-response element that lent the inward squees a more profound impact. The non-standard howls surface often, most notably on “Slaughter/Suicide”—a demented trip that eventually spirals into horrified shrieks and madman rants—and “Collection of Dead Portraits,” a gang-vocalled, blast-furnace pitcall.

0214 Benighted - 2 2014

The surprisingly tactful pacing isn’t just limited to individual tracks; Carnivore Sublime’s finest cuts are the closers, “Les Morsures du Cerbère”—which expertly blends a rare melodic line with a maelstrom of blasts—and “June and the Laconic Solstice.” The latter track is the quintessential closing track, packed with all of the band’s hallmarks: bebop riffing gives way to buzzsaw dropouts; gutturals downshift to pigsqeals; pigsqueals give way to disgust-o-core sneers; and it closes with a freaking bass solo.

This, simply put, is just a blast to listen to. Benighted’s boisterousness has always made them stand out from the pack, and Carnivore Sublime is no exception. This is the smartest dumb-fun record to hit the streets in ages. If more bands shared Benighted’s rare combination of self-awareness and wit, deathcore might be more than just an outdated pejorative.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
Label: Season of Mist
Websites: brutalbenighted.com | facebook.com/benighted.official
Release Dates: EU: 2014.03.14 | NA: 03.18.2014

  • BeelzebubsBeard


  • BeelzebubsBeard

    Woops. These guys have been one of my favorite death metal acts over their past few albums, especially Asylum Cave fucking killed it. I have a hard time lumping them in with Deathcore because they are on a whole other level than your typical hot topic fodder but I suppose its not an inaccurate description, I just always thought of them more of a death/grind band. Anyways review is spot on about the fun factor these guys bring, they don’t do anything terribly original but that doesn’t matter when you can tell they’re having a blast playing…pun intended?

  • Even the predictable breakdown at around 2:30 on the preview track doesn’t overstay, leave it to the french to bring fresh air to a stale genre. I just wishlisted it on bandcamp.

  • Luke_22

    Can’t wait for this. Such a phenomenal and dynamic band. Sure they may not be doing anything out of the ordinary, but the curveballs they throw into the mix, and the variety in the songwriting and vocal delivery keeps things fresh and interesting. Asylum Cave will be a tough act to follow though. As far as pinning them into a genre, I consider them a brutal death metal band with some deathcore & grind elements. They are far greater then the generic deathcore tag implies.

    • I’m not sure I hear the deathcore elements. These guys sound like they fit into the deathgrind genre pretty perfectly.

      • d3ad13

        Did someone say deathgrind? Sold. m/