These French fiends have passed me by until now, and on this evidence I’ve missed out on some cracking albums. Asylum Cave is the SIXTH release from the band since 2000, and given the sheer quality of this record I’m keen to go back and check out the rest of their work.
Leading in with the title-track, it’s clear from the off that Benighted aren’t messing about – a brief radio-styled intro is buried under some brutal technical deathgrind which gives way in short order to some thoroughly nasty Suffocation-esque riffing. The intensity rarely lets up through the course of the album – about the only respite you get is when the band occasionally drop the pace to below warpspeed, and even then it’s usually only to bend your mind around some obscenely convoluted syncopation.
Where Benighted score hugely is in their acceptance and embracing of the term ‘deathcore’ that’s being bandied about as if it’s a bad thing – the track Prey adds an absolutely savage beatdown section and some hardcore gang-vocals to its cocktail of hammering blastbeats, flat-out grind and tremelo-picked disorientation, and comes out even stronger for it. Breaking the term down, it either means “death metal with grindcore” or “death metal with hardcore” – I fail to see how either of those should be a term of disdain, frankly!
At a hair over 45 minutes long, Asylum Cave neatly manages to sidestep another of my recent rant targets by not outstaying its welcome – particularly in the case of albums like this where every moment is packed to bursting with feral intensity, artificially lengthening the play-time by adding filler tracks just tests the listener’s patience and only serves to dull the impact of masterful, crushing tunes like Fritzl and Unborn Infected Children.
In short, Asylum Cave transcends lazy genre tags and places Benighted firmly in the highest tier of technical, brutal bands – a hearty recommendation from me, if you hadn’t guessed!
Written by Rob McAuslan