Grindcore doesn’t always have to be intensely angry diatribes against the twin evils of capitalism and melody, there’s room for fun and experimentation too. You can find this on Dødsfest!, the new album from Oslo five-piece Beaten To Death, a band that attempt to bring some flavour and originality to an otherwise restricted genre. While they make a decent fist at capturing something new and exciting, a few mistakes are made along the way.
Recorded live in the studio, Dødsfest! sounds raw and dangerous, as all good grindcore records worth their salt should. Unfortunately, the mix suffers badly as a result, with guitars ranging between fuzzy storm and irritating twangs. The incessant clicking of the bass guitar begins to irritate after a couple of minutes in, and the less said about the dreadfully amateur guttural vocals the better. But it’s certainly not all bad! The drumming, from Tsjuder sticksman Christian Svendson is solid and engaging, throwing in plenty of d-beats and fills to ensure that it’s not just a blast-a-thon.
There are plenty of decent songs on “Dødsfest!,” none of them lasting for much longer than 90 seconds or so. The title track lurches along in a heavy, menacing manner, ‘Obliteration of Nekromantheon’ employs some almost metalcore style melodic guitar lines to counter the blasting sections while ‘Krepsekamp’ and ‘Aspen Hellweek’ rage along in fine style, with shades of black metal sitting comfortably alongside the more traditional grind riffs. There are also some amusing song titles to lighten the mood, such as ‘True Norwegian Internet Metal Warrior’ and ‘The Flesh Prince With Swell Hair.’
Clocking in at a mere 19 minutes, “Dødsfest!” is worth checking out if the smash-and-grab of regular grindcore doesn’t cut the mustard. There are some nice ideas and the idiosyncratic nature of the recording is appealing. However, the sub-standard production is a gripe and the stark truth is that Beaten To Death are not doing anything that hasn’t already been done before, and better on a Brutal Truth record. A nice effort, but more work is needed.