Video debut: Beaten to Death — “Vinni Butterfly”

Broadly speaking, I’m not crazy about music videos for underground metal bands. The ambitious types, with narratives and elaborate visual effects, rarely receive the professional-level treatment they’d need to succeed. (The recent Portal video is a notable exception.) By contrast, the “gritty” underground-metal vid might as well just be performance footage. Watching a band choreograph one of their own live sets in an empty warehouse or field tells you little about their actual stage demeanor.

Norway’s Beaten To Death have identified and avoided this awkward middle ground. The video for “Vinni Butterfly” is not imitation live footage, but the real thing — the footage was shot at two record release parties at the beginning of last month. Their physical presence matches their sound. They are a tight, unpretentious band. You do not see TRUE METAL TYRANTS, but a group of workaday musicians who are probably having a little more fun than most of their musical peers. (Their bassist plays one of those ridiculous Gene Simmons signature Cort basses with an axe-shaped body.)

It’s an utterly non-ostentatious video. That’s a shame; Beaten to Death could use some ostentation. They have quietly become one of the world’s most distinctive and engaging grindcore bands. Their 2011 debut, Xes and Strokes, was great. Dødsfest!, their new album, may be even better. Their secret? Grafting jangly Telecaster tones and arpeggiated melodies onto a sadistic death/grind rhythmic framework. It’s a simple but immensely effective trick.

You can stream Dødsfest! in its entirety below. The album is available for sale on their Bandcamp. This lengthy Last Rites feature on Beaten to Death, penned in part by regular IO contributor Ian Chainey, is also worthy of your attention.

— Doug Moore