Benighted – Obscene Repressed (Season Of Mist)

Gore-splattered death grind with groove… yep, it’s time for another Benighted album. And the French quintet’s ninth album does much to reinforce the band’s position as a Euro death powerhouse.

Granted, they haven’t reached the fanbase levels of contemporaries such as Aborted and Cattle Decapitation, but the quality of records such as 2017’s Necrobreed didn’t go unnoticed – and Obscene Repressed keeps the Saint-Étienne act on that upward curve.

Why? Because tracks like Brutus are carefully crafted ‘songs’, in the more traditional sense of the word, places where Benighted’s death grind conflagration is punctured by grisly meathooks, ready to catch the unsuspecting listener unawares… and keep them hanging.

Bone-splintering brutality is served up in spades, but listen to Smoke Through The Skull and the title track, and you’ll discover gnarly festival (remember them?) anthems, purpose-built to kick off pits in muddy European fields or sweat soaked basements. By the time the album reaches its conclusion, you’ll realise that the explosive cover of Slipknot’s Get This makes total sense.  

Guitarists Emmanuel Dalle and Fabien Desgardins also excel throughout Obscene Repressed. On Casual Piece Of Meat they veer from nuclear riffery into dramatic cascades of blackened melodies, while on Muzzle, the duo detour into a jazzy interlude, before letting loose with an astonishing, hyperspeed finish.

Combine their efforts with a rhythm section who shift gears when a song genuinely calls for it – and know how to keep an audience bolted in – and you have an intelligent, nuanced chunk of extreme metal.

Look beyond the carnage and you’ll realise that Benighted are gifted songsmiths. OK, Slipknot’s presence and influence on songs like Implore The Negative might deter hardened grind freaks – but they’d be missing out on one hell of a record.