"Asylum Cave"

By Dr. Abner Mality

This French band has delivered one of the most severe beatings of the year with "Asylum Cave". It's my first real encounter with them, even though the name's been floating around for ten years or so. I can't describe this as anything other than merciless and ultra-brutal death metal unleashed with breath-taking precision.

This is not retro oldschool sounding stuff, but just blistering aggression in the vein of Aborted and Severe Torture. Speed is definitely on the menu and you won't get much in the way of primitive riffing, but there is a strong sense of groove even to the most damaging tracks. The title track greets us with a cheery "Good Morning!" and the silly tones of Bugs Bunny himself before ramming your teeth down your throat with the most vicious opening track I've heard in a long time. The way these guys move from riff to riff is intense and the vocal assault ranges from typical gutturals to "ree-ree-ree" pig squealing to shrieks and hardcore shouts. The second cut "Let The Blood Spill Between My Broken Teeth" is even more destructive and the brutality of the staccato riffs is just unbelievable.

It would seem impossible for any band to keep this up over the course of 12 tracks and indeed, Benighted runs out of gas about half way through. The first six cuts are innovative, technical and an absolute holocaust...even the somewhat slower "Fritzl" (dedicated to the maniac who imprisoned and raped his daughters for years in his cellar) and the grooving "Unborn Infected Children" are over the top. But following this latter track, the album begins to lapse into a pattern of still brutal but much more predictable tunes. I would even put "Swallow" and "Lethal Merycism" under the average category. Not bad, but not matching up to the earlier cuts. The album ends with "Drowning", where innovative use of vinyl scratching adds interest.

As you can tell from the song titles, Benighted are pretty sick puppies and the album revolves around a Fritzl-like lunatic. It's pretty strong stuff but I can't overstate how brutal the first half of this album is. When these guys can put together a whole record like that, watch out, the slaughter is really gonna begin!!!