On a personal note, for most of the decade we’re presently dwelling and rotting in, Oslo’s Beaten to Death has been one of my favourite bands. Ever since these crusty ears caught wind of their Xes and Strokes debut in 2011, I knew I was hearing something special—something that absolutely upended grindcore in ways previously unimagined. Even as more traditional corners of the grind world have turned up their noses and/or hurled PBR tall boys at this band’s bent sense of adventure, over the course of their growing discography—which now totals four full-lengths and a live album—Beaten to Death has not stopped fucking with orthodoxy and kicking convention in the rump. And I love 'em for it.
Here’s a little primer: the band features past and current members of Insense, The Cumshots, Jorn, She Said Destroy, Grant the Sun, Sturmgeist, Tsjuder and more; drummer Christian Svendsen is your point man with loads of black metal background and despite his nickname being “Bartender” he’s a teetotaller; bassist Mika Martinussen has been spotted on numerous occasions making officious use of a replica of Gene Simmons’ axe-shaped bass from KISS' most theatric and classic era. Very un-grind, indeed; their sound is unique in that the guitars use little to no distortion. The bass is overdriven while the six strings plink out an arsenal of earworm melodies and riffs while “Bartender” blasts out the grindcore tempos and ferocity; guitarist Martin Rygge was at one point a dead ringer for Triumph bassist Mike Levine; the band record all their albums live in their rehearsal space; and humour is a driving force for this lot. Past song titles have included “Don’t You Dare to Call Us Heavy Metal,” “Menstrubation,” “Greenway/Harris,” “True Norwegian Internet Metal Warrior,” “The Flesh Prince with Swell Hair,” “Cat Olympics” and a bunch of others in Norwegian that are likely wry and sarcastic as fuck.