Benumb

By Means of Upheaval

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    6
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"Wanting people to listen, you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer." So says the sampled voice at the beginning of Benumb's ninth song on By Means of Upheaval. "Clouding the Source of Salvation," and that quote, sum up the approach taken by these East Bay grindcore veterans' on their third album. Singer Pete Ponitkoff's bellowing voice is the sound of righteous, pissed-at-the-system anger personified, and he spits out his words at such a fast clip on some of these songs that it sounds like he's auditioning for a Micro Machines commercial. Then again, you can't exactly understand much of what he's saying, and while Benumb's "support the scene" mentality is admirable -- they devote most of their CD booklet space to thank you lists and band/label/zine contact info -- only printing the lyrics to seven of these songs (out of 22) feels counterproductive for a such a politically driven band. Musically, on the other hand, this is an impressive batch of Napalm Death-inspired, punk-leaning grindcore with good (but not slick) sound quality. Benumb also gets points for brevity, with these 22 songs weighing in at just less than 27 minutes (any more would have been overkill). All in all, not spectacular, and not the most groundbreaking sounds grindcore has to offer circa 2003, but still a solid effort from a justifiably respected band.

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