Death metal pioneers Dickbeast hit something of a dry spell four years ago. Their 2008 album Babies are for Juicing had proven a complete flop. In addition to that failure, they had just been stripped of creative control over their Broadway musical collaboration with Julie Taymor based on their music. Topping it all off, fourteen lead actors died in the production’s six-month run, an outrage which Dickbeast couldn’t shake association with. Thus they disappeared, cancelling shows mid-tour and avoiding all public interaction. It seemed as though Dickbeast was finished.
However, Dickbeast has returned the only way they know how: with a vengeance. I Will Beat You to Death With a Mallet is perhaps the best metal album of the decade. If not, it is at least inarguably the most brutal. Nine guitars (six bass) and four drummers assault the listener’s ears with a fury that has already reportedly killed at least two people. Every band member is exceptional on their instrument, and it all comes together as Vedric VonDangersson’s vocals growl into their way into the brain and then punch their way out.
The album starts out with the horrifying, yet compellingly melodic “Angel Suicide,” a rage-induced slaughter of the senses. On this first song it becomes apparent how far Dickbeast has come as they’ve matured through fire. VonDangersson’s vocals really shine through as he sings a new anthem for the people: “Murder! Gore! Punish the wicked with stones/Slaughter! More! I’ll make a sandwich with your bones!”
The album’s title track builds over the (surprisingly bass-heavy) sounds of zebras fornicating. It then launches into a verbal assault on the band’s haters, addressing the 2008 controversy surrounding them head on in the song’s chorus : “I’ll fucking kill all of you!/I’ll fucking kill all of you!/Plebians!/I’ll beat you to death with a mallet!/Fuck!”
The album ends on the soft yet intense power ballad “Trees,” in which the band tackles sensitive political issues in a surprisingly eloquent and thoughtful way. VonDangersson’s voice eases up noticeably as he sings from his heart: “I’ll fucking cut your eyes/I’ll fucking bleed your dick/All you environmentalists make me sick!/Anger burn the forest!”
All in all, Dickbeast has made a glorious comeback. They have surely not seen the end of controversy, but now at least they’ve proven that they can wade through the blood and still shatter minds on the other side.
9 out of 10
1. Angel Suicide
3. Anger Murder
4. Punishing Fury
5. I Will Beat You to Death With a Mallet
6. Cop Eater
7. Burn the Victims
8. God is Angry (The Devil is Sad)
9. Blood and Bourbon
10. Trees (Are Assholes)