BENEDICTION – Subconscious Terror/The Grand Leveller (CD)
Benediction has always been a good listen with their unique brand of crushing death metal, and debut album “Subconscious Terror” features Mark Greenway (now in Napalm Death). Their second album “The Grand Leveller” features their second vocalist Dave Ingram, and the differences in the vocals are huge between these two releases.
The find folks at Metal Mind Productions reissued this collector’s numerated double CD pressing, originally issued by Nuclear Blast Records, under their “Reloaded” reissues banner.
First of, the differences in the music are subtle but the vocals are slightly similar, with Mark Greenway sounding more grindcore, growl driven in delivery. Greenway’s only album, “Subconscious Terror” with Benediction laid the groundwork for this death metal outfit’s future releases. “Subconscious Terror” also features the five track EP “Dark Is The Season” here as well, and it is an interesting contrast to hear the two different vocal styles on this full length CD and EP. Dave Ingram debuted his vocals with this EP, and he comes across more bestial-sounding, with a much darker edge. While Greenway sounds more in the grindcore vein, as his vocals are more shouted out with the occasional grunts here and there. The music on “Subconscious Terror” is more in the grind vein, and would’ve sounded more in the crust punk/grindcore genre had the drumming been chaotically fast. The guitar and bass rhythms are dark in nature, going for more of that Birmingham-styled death/grind direction. This was definitely a very promising release from this quintet in 1990, when grind was rearing its vicious fury from the underground to the mainstream extreme metal fans.
“The Grand Leveller” features their second vocalist Dave Ingram, at that time, when it was first released upon the extreme metal masses in 1991. His vocals are much better suited for Benediction’s style of the mid-tempo death metal, with slight hints of the grind in the guitar rhythms. The 12 tracks including 2 bonus numbers from the “The Grotesque/Ashen Epitaph” EP on this album are some of Benediction’s most crushing songs. Their rhythms are thick, heavy and crushingly simple yet very devastating to the auditory organs.
The studio sound and production on “The Grand Leveller” are quite brutal for that time period.
Even though I very much enjoyed this and the other three albums after “The Grand Leveller”, I still believe their most recent releases within the last ten years: “Organised Chaos” and “Killing Music” feature some of the band’s finer moments. The latter two releases have brutally sounding songs yet showcase their ability to be musically diverse with the variation in the overall songwriting and delivery areas.
This double CD Digipac is a must have, especially if you’re a true Benediction fan.
[Metal Mind Productions] Sarjoo Devani