Benighted: Asylum Cave

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Benighted: Asylum Cave
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Benighted: Asylum Cave
Death Metal, Grindcore
Candlelight Records
March 29th, 2011
Release length: 45:08
Myspace
Benighted is a Death Metal act that comes to us from France. The group has been around for a good while now, and has issued a decent amount of recordings throughout their career thusfar. Asylum Cave is the group’s sixth full length album, finding the band taking four years to follow up their previous effort, Icon. Given the amount of time between these two releases, one must wonder if it’s caused the band to create some really strong music for this release, or if it was enough for the band to stray and lose focus on their sinister Death Metal ways.

Asylum Cave actually starts off with the most annoying introduction ever: The generic beeping of an alarm clock. The one sound in the world that, ninety nine percent of the time, you don’t ever want to hear. At least with this it’s rather low and not as loud and obnoxious as some models where there’s no volume control. The intro then goes into a spoken word segment acting more as a radio, which finds someone messing with the frequency and happening on Bugs Bunny asking “What’s up, Doc?” Yes, you read right. For anyone who had no idea what to expect, this may seem like a joke and perhaps the wrong purchase, but given the sense of insanity through the Brutal Death Metal music of this recording, it’s a little understandable to include him. What follows is solid chaotic Brutal Death that hammers away with blistering double bass and rich, evil higher pitched screaming coupled with deeper gutterals that sometimes head into the squeeling type of performance, but luckily that is done in moderation so that it all works out to suit the album perfectly. “Swallow” becomes the perfect example of it. The song is all over the place. You can pick up on hints of Groove Metal a la Sepultura, some more traditional Metalcore compositions, and some nice two-stepping and an intro that feels a little Thrash inspired. While the song sounds cluttered, it’s a fantastic song that’s catchy, and perhaps one of the best off the recording, blending the vocal range nicely between deep gutterals and pig squeels.

While the Brutal Deaath Metal the band performs is great and full of energy, there’s also a good collection of songs on Asylum Cave that take more of a Grindcore influence. Again, the music for these tracks happens to be solid, but for the most part it’s nothing listeners haven’t really heard before. “Hostile” is the first song to truly take the Grindcore sound and run with it, bringing in a traditional musical composition to the style on any Death/Grindcore album you can find pretty much, but incorporates the band’s high energy performance and solid, fast paced Brutal Death Metal sound over it. The closing, however, is what is spectacular of the track, which takes on a somber feeling of accepting something bad, such as death. This atmosphere is followed up with a spoken word introduction of what sounds like a man trying to sound like a demonic child speaking to you before slamming right into the Brutal Death Metal material on “Fritzl” that brings up more of an upbeat, almost hopping feeling at one point that feels like the band should be busting out into a rap for a very brief amount of time near the half way point. It’s hard to explain, but it does wind up working with the song, which feels like a culmination of various styles incorporated into one song, pulling the listener into an insane number of directions. Sadly, what starts off as a prominant track winds up faltering horribly because of that lack of general direction.

The good thing about that is “Fritzl” is really the only song that genuinely is not an enjoyable song. Everything else on this release seems to really stick to a specific path, but at the same time the band seems to have problems merging Brutal Death Metal with breakdowns and Deathcore. This becomes a huge issue on plenty of tracks, such as on “The Cold Remains” which is a decent Brutal Death Metal track until it starts going the way of simpler Deathcore structures and forced breakdowns. Those forced breakdowns do feel more prominant throughout the album then just with “The Cold Remains”, but aren’t really tacked on to every song, or if there are breakdowns they can sometimes feel more fluid and natural to the song and it’s general progression. This leaves plenty of the songs on Asylum Cave to come across as solid tracks that either hammer away at the listener with extreme force, like with the title track “Asylum Cave”, or manage to be able to shift between the main musical styles nicely and have a little extra structure to the song then just speed and brutality, such as the track “A Quiet Day” which manages to shift between speeds well, and ultimately retain a heavy atmosphere that feels chaotic, yet can be insanely infectious.

Benighted seem to pull plenty of different styles into the mix at times, and for the most part it works out well. Much of Asylum Cave comes off as a solid material that really proves why Benighted has existed for so many years, and is so popular in many circles. However, there are some simpler tracks here that feel uninspiring, as well as times the album feels too technical for it’s own good. While Asylum Cave isn’t the strongest release available, but it still gets the job done well and has enough strong, well composed material to keep the listener coming back for a good while, though after some time some tracks will start to become a little less inspiring then others. Either way, Asylum Cave makes as good a jump on point as any if you haven’t heard of the band before, and is sure to please much of the band’s already present fan base.

01. Asylum Cave – 3:30
02. Let the Blood Spill Between My Broken Teeth – 3:52
03. Prey – 3:54
04. Hostile – 2:40
05. Fritzl – 4:37
06. Unborn Infected Children – 4:08
07. The Cold Remains – 3:59
08. A Quiet Day – 3:40
09. Shadows Descend – 2:57
10. Swallow – 3:01
11. Lethal Merycism – 3:34
12. Drowning – 5:19
Overall Score: 7.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Candlelight Records.