Album Review: Benighted – Necrobreed

By Francisco Zamudio

When an album makes me you feel as though you’re drowning in intensity and there’s no use in trying to tread these waters, as the waves of brutality continue to pummel you, coming at you from every angle, you don’t see it coming and all you can do is enjoy the thrashing and slamming and grinding you’re being put through. French grinders Benighted have provided such a soundtrack to your demise on their eighth full-length entitled ‘Necrobreed’ through the outstanding label, Season Of Mist.

More than just a new face of extreme metal Benighted has been a well-established band for more than 15 years. With Julian Truchan on vocals and guitarist Olivier Gabriel, they lead a new line-up consisting of guitarist Emmanuel Dalle, bassist Pierre Arnoux and drummer Romain Goulon (Necrophagist). This latest release is a new sickening level of grind. The duality on vocal duties between Truchan and Pierre is definitely a highlight. And the thick sound resonating on guitars and bass matched by the sickness Goulon brings on drums is so blistering, you’ll be in awe of this new dynamic.

The multi-faceted vocals stand out so well, not only in necessity but as musicianship on its own, incorporated in a mix and excellently matched style with the rest of the band with all the constant progressions throughout the album. As the foundation of the songwriting is based on grind, the unity of Benighted takes their sound to a fast-paced, unrelenting drive through different styles while maintaining that European death metal and grindcore heaviness. What a relief to see more than 10 full tracks on an album, when so many others settle for less. And none of the tracks feel at all like filler. Every tune brings so much to the table and never drags.

It’s always nice to hear clever things like intros, outros and brief interludes which are often overlooked and left out and things like the one-minute opening track ‘Hush Little Baby’, and parts of ‘Leatherface’ and ‘Monsters Make Monsters’ help give so much character to the album. ‘Reptilian’ hits with such ferocity, your skin will immediately shed as it is demonstrating the new face of Benighted, climaxing with even more insanity. ‘Forgive Me Father’ is one of the best tracks on the album where it demonstrates the vocal extreme these guys have taken it to, not to mention guest vocals by The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad. Goulon blasts his way along with the numerous changes set by the constant grinding. His drum fills, accents and grooves also help give this new album a brutal face-peeling face-lift. Not only do Benighted stretch vocal styles but also cross language barriers and sing in German on the track ‘Der Doppelgaenger’. If this album is too thickly glazed in brutality for you, I suggest it in small doses with the title track being the shortest at a minute-and-a-half.  Tunes like ‘Psychosilencer’ and ‘Mass Grave’ are nothing short of ravaging and crowd-stirring. ‘Necrobreed’ is a shot of adrenaline to the heart, from the got of a metal scene too many claim dead.

You can hear the influences that help form the ideas Benighted displays here. On prior releases they were diverse and may be more laid back in their style, in comparison to this monster. But their focus on ‘Necrobreed’ clears the table for a new and more intensely brutal identity. If Benighted’s blend of death metal, gore-grind and grindcore on this album is an indication of the music to come in 2017, then music has a lot to show us this year. And as a U.S. based fan of foreign extreme metal can tell you, there is no shortage of great underground metal out there and Benighted’s ‘Necrobreed’ is now another outstanding example of that. Viva France.

Rating: 9/10

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Record Label: Season Of Mist
Release Date: February 24th 2017

Track Listing:
01. Hush little Baby (1:09)
02. Reptilian (3:17)
03. Psychosilencer (3:32)
04. Forgive Me Father (4:16)
05. Leatherface (3:24)
06. Der Doppelgaenger (3:49)
07. Necrobreed (1:29)
08. Monsters Make Monsters (3:35)
09. Cum With Disgust (3:10)
10. Versipellis (2:49)
11. Reeks Of Darkened Zoopsia (3:16)
12. Mass Grave (4:51)

Total Duration: 38:37

Benighted links: facebook | bandcamp