Stream Beaten To Death Unplugged (Stereogum Premiere)
A few weeks back, we streamed a song by the Norwegian black metal band Tsjuder. Tsjuder’s onstage presentation is as stonefaced as it gets, which makes drummer Christian “AntiChristian” Svendsen’s membership in the unorthodox grindcore band Beaten To Death that much more amusing. To give you an idea of how different Beaten To Death’s presentation is from Tsjuder’s, consider that they credit Svendsen as “Christian Bartender.” Then consider the thoroughly sarcastic song titles on Unplugged, their outstanding third album. (Which isn’t actually an unplugged album.) Opener “Papyrus Containing The Spell To Summon The Breath Of Life Enshrined In The Collected Scrolls Of Sheryl Crow” bags on recent Black Market honorees Nile for their predilection for long song titles. “Don’t You Fucking Dare To Call Us Heavy Metal” (they are clearly heavy metal) shares space with “Death To False Grindcore.” You should Google “Robert Sylvester Kelly” if you don’t recognize the name. The last song is called “Troll,” for crying out loud. But despite the outward silliness, Unplugged is as intense and inventive as anything on the grind landscape these days. Against a familiar backdrop of blastbeats, belching vocals, and rock-salt bass, guitarists Tommy Hjelm and Martin Rygge twang away with clattering single-coil guitars that might sound more at home in a hard-charging ’90s indie rock band than in any extreme metal mutation. And at times, the material they’re playing sounds in keeping with that bizarre tone — they’re fond of chiming, layered arpeggios that would be positively beautiful if it weren’t for all the guttural mayhem belting out of their bandmates. Unplugged is Beaten To Death’s third EP-length hit in four years; time to get familiar.