Beaten to Death - Agronomicon
Mas-Kina Recordings
12 songs (22:00)
Release year: 2018
Mas-Kina Recordings
Reviewed by Goat

Norwegian grindcore collective Beaten To Death impressed me back in 2013 with the experimental Dødsfest! and have released a very good album in 2015's Unplugged since, yet it's the subsequent pre-Christmas release of fourth album Agronomicon that we turn to today. As before this is the product of the same fevered minds that brought you progressive death metal from the much-missed She Said Destroy, pure black metal a la Tsjuder, and depraved death n'roll n'live hippie sex degenerates The Cumshots, and as before this is an "album" that barely lasts beyond twenty minutes. And although Agronomicon isn't quite as good as the albums before it, it's still a manic, impressive collection of inventive grind songs that poke fun at the band and the genre and the metal scene as a whole without ever giving the impression that they love it all any less than any of us.

Picking highlights is one of those exercises that will only appeal to a certain few, yet you have to give the band credit for coming up with the likes of opener Grind Korn, a bass-heavy mixture of influences that actually sounds very much like the nu-metal band attempting grindcore and succeeding quite well. The following Dere er herved oppløst continues the aural beating well, dropping the music altogether at points to let the screamed vocals have their full effect before turning into some melodic alt-rock-as-performed-by-Nasum nightmare in the second half. And from then on there's little to criticise, the likes of Catch Twentyfvck having a weird catchiness to the chorus despite lacking the sophistication of, say, Bjørnstjerne Ibsen with its lyrical take on, yes, Ibsen via Slayer's Angel of Death. And although the band's zany sense of humour is on show throughout, from interlude (Intro to the Next Song) to pieces like Boy George Michael Bolton, it's never irritating or in the way of enjoying the music.

This is admittedly helped by the average song length coming in well under two minutes, but it's hard not to fall for pieces like the title track with its infectiously groovy riffs. You may like certain tracks over others - I struggled to enjoy Gå, snuble, bli liggende as much as the following Extremely Run to the Hills and its Cephalic Carnage-esque tech blasting, for instance - yet such is the nature of the genre that before you can blink another song will be along to shake things up, and Beaten to Death excel at this sleight of hand across the album. As far as grind goes less is often more, yet few if any bands are as good at carving out an identity of their own as Beaten to Death and if the impact seems lessened this fourth time around it's easy to explain it away as having familiarity with the band and their other albums. By the time closer Eternal Punished Septic rolls around it's something of the culmination of a tornado, and you really do need to give the album a few listens to understand what's going on thanks to the short song lengths. And although I'd recommend one of the band's earlier albums to those new to them, Agronomicon is yet another slice of wholesomely mental, gleefully mad grind that as entertaining as it is on the surface shows that the genre can do a lot if allowed to develop its own identity.

Killing Songs :
Grind Korn, Catch Twentyfvck, Agronomicon, Extremely Run to the Hills, Eternal Punished Septic
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Beaten to Death that we have reviewed:
Beaten to Death - Dødsfest! reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
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