Grind Bastard (Nuclear Blast Records)
By: Jeb Branin
The mighty BENEDICTION is back and in top form on "Grind Bastard." After a slightly disappointing showing on 1995's "The Dreams You Dread" followed by an almost three year recording hiatus this was one of the underground's most anticipated releases. It was worth the wait. BENEDICTION have taken the crushing death metal of their early releases and the more direct and stripped down approach of "The Dreams You Dread" and merged them. Onto that framework they have overlaid a fiery new sound heavily influenced by later era E.N.T. / NAPALM style grindcore. The result is the most punishing release of their career. It has all the brutality of oldschool death metal and all the bone splintering ferocity of grind. Of course, it is executed flawlessly and has the unmistakable sound imprint of BENEDICTION who always have the class to make their sound distinctive. Dave Ingram's voice plays a dominating role in the music. He is one of the few extreme vocalists who has the ability to growl with pure depravity yet enunciate every word so that it can be understood. He also shows that he has quite a bit of range on this album, especially on the two cover tunes; JUDAS PRIEST'S "Electric Eye" and TWISTED SISTER's heaviest tune ever "Destroyer" where he indulges in a more straightforward roar. Listening to him nail the chorus of "Electric Eye" with his voice's pure rage and passion sends a shiver through me. He will be sorely missed by BENEDICTION fans. Hopefully he will resurface in some project or another in spite of his new family commitments which prevent him from touring. In my book you can rank BENEDICTION amongst the pure of heart and intent who dedication to their music and hardcore fans has never wavered ala UNLEASHED and MOTORHEAD. Anybody who denigrates this album has no taste and anyone who doesn't buy it is cheating themselves.
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