On the one hand, BEATEN TO DEATH is a quite generic name for a Grindcore band. One the other hand, you know what you’ll get, and, more important, this is already the point where the mediocrity comes to a quick end and a whole bunch of motherfucking awesome gnarliness comes in. Because BEATEN TO DEATH from Norway bring lots of innovative and fresh ideas to a genre where almost everything has been said already 20 years ago. And they do it without whimping out or drifting towards some freaked out high-tech Death-Grind kind of thing. Xes and Strokes amazes with other qualities. Full review and video of the song Winston Churchill after the jump!
There are two points (among crucial things like being tight musicians or into Metal for decades – the drummer’s also playing in Tsjunder for example) that make BEATEN TO DEATH so outstanding:
On Xes and Strokes they not only deliver skullcrushing Grindcore but prove, no shit, a certain sense for melodies. Might sound weird to read, but that’s how it is. Of course, the melodies are thrown in by the guitars, the vocals remain cancerous and ugly all of the time – we’re still talking about Grindcore, aren’t we? So, before, after, in between or simply during blasts and heavy breakdowns, BEATEN TO DEATH‘s guitarists come up with those melodic harmonies and riffs. The thing is, even though the bridge between brutal noise attacks and melody might be a quite long one, B2D manage to incorporate those elements so easy as if that’d be the usual way to play Grind. At no point you get the feeling that the songwriting on this record would be unnatural or something alike.
The second point that makes me listen to Xes and Strokes now for a few days on repeat is the sound, the production of the record. I really thought some time about how they get this kinda strange guitar sound, for Grindcore standards at least. I found the answer when I watched the video for Winston Churchill. These dudes use Fender guitars, or at least something similar single coiled. Definetely not the usual choice for extreme Metal, where it’s all about super distortion humbuckers. This fact alone gives B2D a very distinct sound – combined with their very own interpretation of Grindcore it’s almost genre redefining.
If Rotten Sound are, after the demise of Nasum, the presidents of Scandinavian Grind, they’ll have to share this position from now on with Norway’s BEATEN TO DEATH. I’ll definetely vote for them, Xes and Strokes will be their swearing-in.