Album Review: Beaten to Death – Xes and Strokes
Band: Beaten to Death (Norway)
Album: Xes and Strokes (2011)
Genre: Melodic Grindcore
This album came in on the hight of my ‘Core-madness, but now after a good few weeks, it has diminished to something more in the way of indifference on the given subject. So Xes and Strokes will probably get some beatings here, although it won’t be beaten to death. Ok, lame pun there, but yeah, that’s how things go when inspiration’s lacking from time to time, as is often the case when writing on a subject that doesn’t bother you too much.
To begin with, Beaten to Death have a really interesting concept on their sleeves. Most bands would take their Grinding heaviness into a Punk direction, but on Xes and Strokes, Beaten to Death seemed to have looked at some Melodic Hard Rock in stead. For me personally, that’s not the greatest surprise, since I know some great Norwegian Hard Rock bands, but the combination turns out to be pretty good. While trying to classify the album for you above, a few terms have been flying around in my head and on the screen. First of all Grindcore, which is the main genre, but also Metalcore, Grind ‘N Roll, Hard Rock, Hardcore etc. They all seem to fit.
On a small note, I’d like to say that the two videos posted here are awesome. Great energy and conveyance of dynamics. Top notch guys!
Whatever the label, Xes and Strokes is raw, melodic but heavy. There are a lot of melodic parts, that seem to come off any given Hard Rock/Glam Metal song, while adding some more noise and fret buzz. However, when not playing melodies, the guitars generally revert to some chugging rhythm’s. I’m not sure whether there are two vocalists, but in any way, there are three vocal techniques used on Xes and Strokes. One is a high scream, then a low scream, which seems to border on pig squealing, and lastly a kind of raspy Metalcore voice, which occurs sparsely. Coming to the drums, I’d like to say they are sufficient. They are not extremely tight or virtuous, but they are good.
The only thing that really bugs me with this album is an interconnection between attraction and catchiness. It’s not that this album lacks catchy melodies, but it’s just that I can’t really remember any of them when not listening to the album. Only once the album is on I think: “Oh yeah, I remember that.” . I never have the feeling of wanting to listen to the album because I want to hear that one song that is stuck in my head.
In the end, that is the sole thing that’s really negative about the album. Alright, the songwriting is not super sophisticated and neither is the musicianship, but hey, it’s Grindcore right? Xes and Strokes is a bit of a weirdo in the genre, but it does seem to work up to a certain point. When buying Xes and Strokes however, you do know what you have, a good solid album which will not wear out on you after 5 listens.
My Grade: 8/10
Buy this when:
- you’re an avid Grindcore-fan with a heart for Melodic Metal/Hard Rock
- you’re a Metalcore fan, looking for something heavier