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Benediction - Scriptures review


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Band: Benediction
Album: Scriptures
Style: Death metal
Release date: October 2020

01. Iterations Of I
02. Scriptures In Scarlet
03. The Crooked Man
04. Stormcrow
05. Progenitors Of A New Paradigm
06. Rabid Carnality
07. In Our Hands, The Scars
08. Tear Off These Wings
09. Embrace The Kill
10. Neverwhen
11. The Blight At The End
12. We Are Legion

Expectations are met where previously bars were set.

OSDM is a funny genre, eternally moving forward while looking back; while most schools are empty at the moment Benediction decide to take the listeners back to school and give fans and bands of the genre some homework to do. Scriptures has studied well and passes the test; serving up their first full-length album in twelve years and the first with Ingram in twenty years, Benediction return with an album that lives up to expectations, though it doesn't exceed them.

The re-introduction of Ingram adds massively to the old school vibe of the record, having a voice that evokes nostalgia and the halcyon 90's while sounding like an exorcism that got stuck buffering at 50%. His demonic tones are in a class of their own and as a result place Scriptures in a higher position by virtue of being a vehicle for that voice. "The Crooked Man" is one of many songs are propelled by his vocals.

Luckily for all involved, the rest of the band are able to craft several great tracks that can match and at times push Ingram to the side in terms of getting your attention, from the out and out barnstormers ("Rabid Carnality") to the mid-paced tracks that get an audible dose of adrenaline halfway through ("Embrace The Kill"), as well as the songs that rest in that sweet spot between up tempo and groove, such as "Neverwhen".

The duo of Brookes and Rew have been the consistent members of the band since their inception over 31 years ago; testament to their longevity is the ability to still craft some of the finest attention-grabbing riffs going. While yes, most of these riffs may not reach the high bar set by some of their past work, they are still of a quality that will test how tightly your head is attached to your neck.

The album drips in the OSDM sound; invigorated by the use of modern technology, it sees the best of both worlds meet in the middle, the band bringing enough vibe and sound to the table while the production gives it the firepower it needs to blast away metalheads who have found new levels of extremities in the time since Killing Music.

The feeling of nostalgia is well founded at times, given that some of the tracks transcend the Rubicon of evoking a feeling of the past rather than repeating oneself; case in point, "Stormcrow" sounds too much like "Agonised" off of Grind Bastard for my liking. However, for the most part, the band carve out a new set of material that is formed from the same stone but unique enough so as not to repeat themselves. "Tear Off These Wings" does offer the album a level of variation, both sonically and in quality; while the idea for the track is interesting, it isn't executed well enough to not find your interesting dropping, though this is the only track I would consider skip-worthy.

While the band do employ more groove-orientated sections (aka the parts where they aren't blasting you at full power) than much of their earlier material with Ingram, they aren't as captivating as they have been in the past; with the band dropping the tempo and intensity a little (you'll still pick up a speed ticket while listening along) here and there, it is these sections that are the least memorable. The tendency of these sections to be towards the end of most tracks, such as on "Progenitors Of A New Paradigm" and "In Our Hands, The Scars", offers mixed blessings, ending the song on a bland note which is however then rectified by the following track instantly grabbing your attention. Nevertheless, credit is due, with the band's seamless shifting between gears sounding natural rather than enforced or over-reliant on the use of a bridging section.

Scriptures is a solid comeback from a band who are often overlooked in the history of death metal; though they have a catalogue that can stand toe to toe with many of their peers, their profile hasn't endured. Benediction craft themselves a fine album that should give the band plenty of forward momentum, and see them grab the spotlight and illuminate their past for those who may have overlooked them.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Written on 22.10.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 54 users
24.10.2020 - 09:58
Rating: 9
Welcome back guys!
19.11.2020 - 23:48
Rating: 10
One of the best albums of this year.
20.12.2020 - 03:55
Rating: 7
Troy Killjoy
Personally I think the rhythm section is the highlight here, even though they spend way too much time plodding along at mid-tempo. They do a great job at capturing that old school death 'n' roll-esque vibe though, and the crunchy guitar tone blends well with the evident focus on retaining as much groove as possible within each riff.

I've never been a fan of Ingram's vocals, between his sometimes awkward enunciation and rushed delivery, he can be more of a distraction than anything. He was serviceable as a replacement for van Drunen with Bolt Thrower (thankfully stepping away so Willetts could resume vocal duties for one of my all-time favorite albums), but to me he's always been carried by the music backing him.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."

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