Benediction – Grind Bastard – Review


Grind Bastard (Nuclear Blast)
by Tim Den

For who-knows-how-long now, Benediction has put out one great album after another. Classics like The Grand Leveller and Transcend the Rubicon helped me survive high school with their infectious brutality and originality, and they still hold a place in my heart today. However, with line-up turmoil and a much-disapproved-of musical left turn in recent years (not to mention the decline of death metal… or rather good death metal), Benediction fans everywhere dreaded the possibility of this band turning shitty. Fear no more, kiddos, for Grind Bastard finds the Birmingham quartet as strong as ever. Learning from the mistakes of their last album, The Dreams You Dread (which I still enjoyed), Benediction picks up the pace a bit. Combining the freight train aggression of their older stuff with the slower style of The Dreams…, they’ve found a balance just right to satisfy any metal fan. Drummer Neil Hutton, who was awkward as a new member on the last album, now sounds fully initiated. In fact, his performance almost convinces me that he’s now running the whole fucking show. His super-tight playing (choreographed to every chug on the guitar) finally gives Benediction the balls they’ve always lacked. Hutton’s colorful (and busy) style fills in the gaps left behind by the guitarists’ riffs (since Benediction, like many other older metal bands, have been trying to “progress” into the “new metal” sound, their riffs have suffered: less innovation, more palm-muting + chugging on the low-E = boring), and saves them from monotony. This new album is not only a much-needed morale boost for the world of heavy music, it also marks the return of an above-average death metal band who have never failed to deliver.
(2323 W. El Segundo Blvd. Hawthorne, CA 90250)