Beaten to Death – Laat maar, ik verhuis naar het bos [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Some of you may whine that Laat maar, ik verhuis naar het bos (Nevermind, I’m Moving to the Woods, if Google Translate is to be trusted) is not a 2021 release. True enough; it released on vinyl in September 2020. However, the limited run offered and timed vinyl-exclusive meant that very few people actually heard the record until 2021. Beaten to Death, in a fit of questionable genius, released the record digitally as 4 separate EPs released across 8 weeks, the last of which was only unveiled on 24 December 2020. Acquiring each of these and editing their metadata into the vinyl arrangement was quite the faff, let me tell you, and I heard the record in full for the first time on 1 January 2021. You may, therefore, get fucked if you think it doesn’t count.

It’s a damn shame that these enigmatic Norwegians made their album so challenging to hear because it’s fucking incredible. They’ve always played fast and loose with defined genre boundaries, and Laat maar is no different. If anything, it’s more different than ever, which is to say the same as they’ve always been1. Sure, it features recognizable elements of grindcore: speed, brevity, abrasiveness, attitude. But shoegaze? Indie rock? Math rock? Even touches of ambient? Each plays a part in this elaborate theatre, building their most inventive and most irreverent release of an inventive and irreverent career.

B2D have so much energy and enthusiasm that it’s absurd. Laat maar has the feeling of a record which is electrified; you can listen to any 30-second segment on it and you’ll be shocked out of any funk into a frenzied grin. And despite the relentless energy which is crucial to grind generally, B2D know how to write dynamically. Simply by being dynamic they are better than other grind bands. “Rectal Dark Ages” entwines thrash metal and post-rock over its first half, neatly blending heavy and light sounds. “The Old Man and the Internet” and “Crying on the Outside, Living on the Inside” also stand out, tracking courses which each run over 3 minutes; years in grind terms. The former progresses from a pretty piano introduction into a clean indie rock passage, before finding its way to the melodic grind we know and love. Meanwhile, the chorus on the latter is beautiful and uplifting, with cheesy clean singing and uplifting guitar melodies. But this is set over the top of battering drums and weird gurgled vocals. Laat maar presents chalk and cheese on the same platter and somehow it’s appetizing. Both of these tracks demonstrate that the band has all the interesting ideas and song-writing skills to sustain “longer” songs which bodes well for further development.

If you’re concerned that all of this sounds far too accessible for grindcore, you’re damn right it’s accessible. B2D have built their own sound out of sticking two fingers up at the brvtal and trve. The twisting, grinding and angular leads always wring every last ounce of melody out of music which is extraordinarily harsh by the standards of 99% of music listeners. Even the most abrasive cuts leverage shoegazing guitars in the top layer. Laat maar finds the extremity of its scene not through the typical tools of grind but through its experimental approach. And just when you think you’ve settled into the record’s rhythm, it throws another curveball. The dial-up internet samples on “The Old and Man and the Internet” are written into the quirky, rhythmic leads and drumming, while the weird, rattling breath at the conclusion of “Jeg skal lage drakt av deg” is deeply unsettling.

If I have a complaint, it’s that such shockingly dynamic grind deserves a similarly dynamic master. But it’s hardly a deal-breaker in the face of such incredible creativity. B2D is an alien band writing backwards, dragging an inaccessible sub-genre into accessibility. It’s this that makes them so special.

Track [names] to Check Out: “Crying on the Outside, Living on the Inside,” “If Your Music Were a Blowjob, It Wouldn’t Suck,” “The Old Man and the Internet,” “Cunts of Lulu”

Show 1 footnote

  1. Channeling my inner Bilbo Baggins.
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