Beaten Back to Pure - _Last Refuge of the Sons of Bitches_
(Retribute Records, 2002)
by: Xander Hoose (7 out of 10)
Virginia's Beaten Back to Pure were high on my list of recommended albums with their debut _Southern Apocalypse_ when it got released over a year ago. My only negative comment back then concerned the sound quality. For this album, Beaten Back to Pure have built their own studio (Sniper Christian) and it rubs off indeed: with all the instruments placed perfectly in the mix and the vocals coming out more powerful than before, Beaten Back to Pure's next step towards maturity sounds more convincing than last time around. Musically, the eight songs on this album are a small step back from the swampish death-sludge and a small step towards more straightforward death metal. Vocal-wise Gorefest keeps popping up in my head, but Beaten Back to Pure incorporate more diversity in their music: the guitar work on "Shards of Mason Jars" and the catchy laid-back structure of "Paleface" show that _LRotSoB_ has a lot to offer for the careful listener. Nevertheless, they made one big mistake I hope to see corrected in the future: the incorporation of clean vocals. It's not clean vocals per se that I oppose, but the vocals featured in some of the tracks on this album are absolutely unconvincing -- not to say misplaced. Guys, please work on the clean vocals or leave them out and your next effort might be a masterpiece.

(article published 16/3/2003)

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