Released: 2017, Grindscene Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Since we last heard from UK murder metallers Basement Torture Killings, the band has undergone an almost complete overhaul to its lineup, leaving only original guitarist/vocalist Tarquin on deck. But as they say, you can’t keep a good killer down, and Tarquin has assembled a solid new cast of characters (literally) to round out the band on their latest platter of splatter, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT BERYL. The “Beryl” in question would be the lovely lady adorning the album’s cover (covered in blood, presumably someone else’s), who also happens to be the band’s new lead vocalist.
Compared to the last couple of releases from BTK, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT BERYL is a less polished and grittier sounding record, and leans more on the band’s grindcore roots than the slick precision kills exhibited on A NIGHT OF BRUTAL TORTURE. Lawnmower Deth was a mental association that kept popping up; it's definitely got that early UK crust/grind vibe. This approach appears designed to better align with Beryl’s more primal, caveman style vocal delivery, who at times sounds like a young Lee Dorian grunting wildly into the mic. For the most part, it’s a pretty effective strategy; tunes like “The Rat Catcher”, “Shit Carcass” and the title track snarl fast and vicious, pummeling your ear holes like an unhinged madman on a rampage. Other spots on the record tend to run a bit one-dimensional and don’t make much of an impression. For all of the ferocity in Beryl’s voice, there’s not a lot of variation in her delivery and things can get stale if she doesn’t have a solid tune to support her. But when she and Tarquin share vocals and offer contrasting styles, it’s generally a home run. Check their cover of “Knives” by the criminally underappreciated Therapy? as proof.
THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT BERYL is clearly intended as a reboot for Basement Torture Killings. While I do miss the tighter production/execution from previous records, it’s still a worthwhile reintroduction to the metal masses. For what it’s worth, I found some live videos of this version of the band on the web, and the intensity of their stage work goes 1000x beyond what’s conveyed on CD. Hopefully BTK can sprinkle some of that magic into the next album.