UK band BASEMENT TORTURE KILLINGS have been around since 2007 or thereabouts, with a couple of albums and some EPs and split releases to their name. Fueled by a revitalized line-up the band reappeared in 2017 with a new album, named “There’s Something About Beryl”, which was set for an early April release through Irish label Grindscene Records.
As a middle aged guy closer to 50 than 40, metal of this specific character is one that by and large takes a bit to convince me of it’s qualities. I’m too old to be impressed by speed and brutality in itself, and rather tends to appreciate the bands that use such elements as effects rather than as a constantly ongoing barrage of hectic noise. The description grindcore is also one that I don’t really see the point of, extreme metal goes a long way in my book as to accurately describe such ventures. And Basement Torture Killings are extreme, that is undeniable.
Like a somewhat more intense blend of Nuclear Assault and Possessed the band hammers out their sickly constructions at blistering speed from the get go, where minor fluctuations in pace, tone and intensity caters for the greater majority of variation in the mostly shorter length songs present on this album. The drums are frantic, the vocalist’s specific take on growling is one that sounds not too far away from vomiting, and the guitars are buzzing like chainsaws running on liquid nitrogen.
It is well made and performed though. This is a type of metal that is rather unforgiving if you don’t have the skill set to master your instrument, and a poor production will also highlight whatever flaws that might be at play. In this case I can’t really catch anything major to critique in those departments: This is a well made production of its kind and nature on all levels as far as I can tell.
There are some highlights present that does make the end result a bit more appealing also for a relatively old guy like myself. Occasions where the guitars are a bit more expressive, when the drum patterns does a bit more than hammer away at machine-gun speeds and where the guttural vocals sounds does escape into a slightly more pleasing shrieks. In short: There is music present that may well appeal outside of the grindcore and death metal scene I rather suspect this production will be marketed towards first and foremost. This is still niche music in a niche field, at least to my perception, so we’re not talking Billboard nor hit music, but those fond of the more extreme varieties of thrash metal may well find some of the songs on this album to have an appeal as well. As long as they have a certain affection for the vocal style applied, obviously.
The band’s image revolving around torture and death may be a bit hard for some to swallow (sic), and the cinematic scenes that appear here and there aren’t of the kind anyone would like their older relatives to hear I suspect. “The human body is mostly not for eating” a sentence that appears in one of those sequences, and that isn’t the most disturbing of them by far.
Those who know and love music described as death metal and grindcore should find Basement Torture Killing’s latest album to be one that ticks the greater majority of the boxes fans of those types of music have. The musicianship comes across as good, the mix and production fits the music well and is otherwise nicely balanced, and the songs themselves are hammering, blistering barrages of raw energy and hard tension, with occasional lapses into landscapes of a subtly more expressive nature.
My rating: 67/100
On a Mountain Road; There’s Something About Beryl; The Story of T; The Rat Catcher; The Taxi Driver; Shit Carcass; Necrophiled and Cannibalised; The Butcher of Smithfield; Abduction Torture Snuff Porn; Knives; Herr Krauss, Arzt des Todes