Saint-Etienne, France’s death metal/grind outfit Benighted have garnered a respectable amount of recognition over the past two decades in the large metal arena. Not conservative enough to be called grind and not focused enough to be deemed as pure death metal, Benighted bestride the opening between the two genres. Their latest offering “Obscene Repressed” is savagely heavy and severe, and features the pacing of grind paralleled by riffing and solos that would certainly be welcomed on almost any death metal record. The two genres fuse superbly good in the hands of this overtly obscene act.
To say that there isn’t diversity on this album is to show that one has not heard it. Technical, prompt riffing in “Nails” is put down by an acoustic intro in “Brutus”. That doesn’t mean that the album oscillates between moods impulsively, because “Obscene Repressed” is a very coherent piece even with its continuously shifting sounds. There is a feeling all over this album that is distinctive to Benighted, and anyone who has heard 2017’s “Necrobreed” and 2018’s EP “Dogs Always Bite Harder Than Their Master” will appreciate that this is a very nice restart from where those two releases left off, without redoing big slabs of content. It is understandable that Benighted want variation but not at the expense of their ID, and while it is true that what is reprocessed is rancid, that does not damage the intact episode here. When the album gets going it becomes truly ferocious.
As is now usual for Benighted, the vocal variety of Julien Truchan is stomach-turning but astonishing, with guttural vocals, high, and throaty gargles entwining the whole album, including especially on the superb “The Starving Beast” and “Casual Piece of Meat.” Benighted demonstrate levels of riff-building that come close to epic in the aforementioned songs, and by the time the second half of the album rolls around it is clear that Benighted are well in their stride. Aside from whirlwind, technical riffwork and pounding drums, there are moments when “Obscene Repressed” proves to be a surprise. It is crystal clear after only the first few listens that the second half of the album far outweighs the first half in terms of quality, but that is not to say that first few songs on “Obscene Repressed” are poor.
It is easy to tell what you are going to get with this record, and “Obscene Repressed” provides just what you anticipate from a release like this, plus a bit more. It will maybe not blow you away, but it will rather simply deliver what was promised with a little extra that may not have been envision: rigid, ruthless death/grind from one of the genre’s most representative acts that actually has purpose.
Review by Niko Savic
Managing Editor: Rita Limede