Consumed; ingurgitated; devoured; all great verbs for your metal vocabulary. But too long for grindcore — too florid, too multisyllabic. Eaten? That’s more like it. It’s straight to the simple, violent point for Eaten and their self-titled debut. No bells, no whistles, just gnarly, metallic grindcore in the vein of Wormrot, Napalm Death, and Fuck the Facts. In the amount of time it takes me to write this review, I’ll listen to Eaten maybe three or four times. Part of the reason for that is the album’s typically terse runtime. Part is that I feel obligated to listen to it since, you know, I’m supposed to pass a coherent judgment on it. But beyond duty and convenience, I’m listening to Eaten because it’s just a good record.
Eaten‘s success is due not to any gimmick or flashy performance. In the true spirit of grindcore, it’s stripped down and simplistic in its writing. What makes the album work for me is the fact that Eaten fall decidedly on the brutal side of the punk/metal divide that grindcore crosses, and their strong death metal influence nudges them into deathgrind territory. Their longer takes, like “Swarm,” have a sort of focused, barbaric swagger that you might find on a Behemoth album, and when the band move out of typically grindy start-stop riffing, they can pull out some searing tremolos and chromatic chugs that really spice things up without straying away from the core sound they’re after.
That being said, a lot of Eaten just kind of charges by. There are some crushing cuts, like “Universal Plague,” “Hunger,” and “Swarm,” but a good portion of the songs sit in that peak grindcore range of 30 to 50 seconds and don’t quite have the personality to justify their brevity. Perhaps an unfair complaint, given that songs like this are standard fare for the genre, but hey, Wormrot does it better. If there’s more substantive material to be had from these guys, I’d rather hear that than another 34–second burst.
I’ve now listened to “Universal Plague” thrice while writing this review, so I suppose it’s time to let the album sit for a while and see what else there is to say about Eaten after some reflection. I’ll meet you on the other side of the band photo. Kronos has more than one pot on the stove, after all…
Honestly, that’s about it. I like Eaten, but if you started listening to the album at the beginning of this review, you’ll probably have already made up your mind about it. It is its own best ambassador.
Ultimately, Eaten is another grindcore release that will keep you pleased in the moment but fall by the wayside when something new comes along. It ticks all of the boxes that it needs to – fast, angry, and terribly unconcerned with your opinions. It sounds decent, packs a few satisfying riffs in, and gets itself out of the way. Yet I know that I’ll probably not return to it in the future, both because there’s so much higher–tier metal coming out, and because I’ll review another 20–something minute grind LP in a year that I’ll feel essentially the same about. Perhaps Eaten need a gimmick to really differentiate themselves, or perhaps they’re very content with their current sound — there’s a good reason for them to be. But it’s a shame that this record feels so disposable, a sort of snack to occupy the stomach between full meals, something tasty that you won’t remember eating tomorrow.