Blast Rites #10: Berated / Barren – Chainsaw Deth Grind Review

Ten entries into this Blast Rites barrage and we have our first repeat offender…

Release date: April 30, 2022. Label: Grand Vomit Productions.
Belgium’s chainsaw grinders Barren got the compilation treatment earlier this year from Esagoya Records in Japan, rounding up the two demos they put out in 2021 into one package with Cursed To Walk This Earth, which served as the subject of Blast Rites #3. Now four months later, they’re back with some new tracks and some equally angry friends in the form of Denver grindviolence trio Berated. Fourteen examples of maniacal grinding, Chainsaw Deth Cult is appropriately named, a white-hot HM2-fueled bashing and blasting.

Berated’s half is up first, ripping through six tracks of furious pummeling grind, from the blistering “Violently High” to the bent-note trudging end of “Prime Real Estate” and the rollicking ride of “Negative,” which along with the dissonant twists of “Fire Kingdom” put the album’s strongest tracks in its back half. Alternating between a particularly intense higher screech and a throatier lower bellow, Caitlin’s vocals are vicious atop Josh’s riffs and Paul’s relentless drumming, all of it combining into a white-knuckle aggression. Wrapping things up with an always-welcome Always Sunny sample (DeVito’s classic “Anyway, I started blasting…” bit), “Blast Off” is a brief foray into noisy electronics, a sidestep away from the grinding before handing the baton to…

…Barren, Belgium’s (relatively) new two-vocal Swedeath-toned buzzsaw bastards. If you checked out that compilation from earlier this year (and you should have), then you know what you’re in for now – this is pure carving and grinding, death-inflected and destructive, from the opening salvo of “Nail Them While They’re Vulnerable” through the stomping savagery of “After The Now” and the blasting/swaggering dichotomy of “Gag.” Though it’s far from novel at this point, that sweet sweet HM2 bite still works wonders – witness some quick hints of killer bent riffage in “Lycanthrope” as a reference of just how gnarly that tone can (and should) be. Closing with a cover of Unholy Grave’s “Maniacal Discharge,” Barren’s half of Chainsaw Deth Grind ends on a high note, a well-done nod to Takaho and team being a sure-fire way to my heart, of course.

As an avid collector of grindcore splits, I’ve found repeatedly – and often regrettably – that they can sometimes be a mixed bag, one side great and the other not quite holding up its end of the bargain. When you run across a split that’s evenly matched, two bands that both bring perfectly matched anger and skill, then that one’s a keeper. Chainsaw Deth Cult is definitely a keeper, two relatively young bands that fit snugly together, each with their own take on a common sound, and each equally furious. It’s a slicing dicing grindcore good time, so fire up the chainsaws and join the cult.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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