Benighted is a French brutal death metal band. Characterized by their major Genre Roulette and Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly tendencies as well as the endlessly flexible vocal cords of frontman Julien Truchan, they have built up a dedicated following both in Europe and abroad.
Formed in 1998 by Julien "Truch" Truchan (vocals), Olivier "Gab" Gabriel and Liem "Litchy" N'Guyen (guitars), Christophe "Chart" Charretier (bass), and Fred "Fight" Fayolle (drums) from the ashes of various death and black metal bands in the Saint-Etienne area, the band spent the first two years perfecting their craft before releasing a self-titled full-length debut in 2000, followed by Charretier leaving in 2001 and N'Guyen briefly doubling up on bass for Psychose, their 2002 sophomore album. Several bassists came and went before Eric "Candy" Lombard finally settled in just in time for 2003's Insane Cephalic Production. As a result of the surprisingly big splash it made, the band went through a lengthy period of touring before writing and releasing Identisick, their fourth album, in 2006, which proved to be their true breakthrough, though Fayolle left and was replaced by a promising young drummer from Ireland by the name of Kevin Foley. Icon followed in 2007 and was met by widespread critical acclaim, though things slowed down for a while after that until a deal with the high-profile indie label Season of Mist was inked, followed by the release of Asylum Cave in 2011. Other than N'Guyen's departure and replacement by Adrien Guerin in 2012, things have gone smoothly since then, with various fest appearances and tours (including several with their buddies in Aborted) having taken place. Carnivore Sublime, was released on February 14, 2014; other than that, the secondary guitar and bass spots changed again, with Emmanuel Dalle and Pierre Arnoux currently occupying them as of now. Kevin Foley has left as of 2016 due to a desire to become a full-time musician; after one final tour, he formally departed. Romain Goulon has been announced as his replacement. Necrobreed, their first album with Goulon, will drop in February of 2017. Goulon, however, had issues with focal dystonia that were exacerbated by having to play demanding material every night while out on tour, and he ultimately left in the summer of 2017. Foley and Kevin Paradis (ex-Svart Crown) served as alternating live fill-ins before Paradis ultimately joined full-time.
- Benighted (2000)
- Psychose (2002)
- Insane Cephalic Production (2003)
- Identisick (2006)
- Icon (2007)
- Asylum Cave (2011)
- Carnivore Sublime (2014)
- Necrobreed (2017)
- Dogs Always Bite Harder Than Their Master (2018) (EP)
- Obscene Repressed (2020)
This band contains examples of the following tropes:
- Ascended Extra: Kevin Paradis.
- Black Metal: They started off playing this before switching to their current sound on their third album, though they do experiment with the genre from time to time today (see below).
- Brutal Death Metal
- Career-Ending Injury: Romain Goulon's issues with focal dystonia ultimately forced him to leave the band for the sake of his health.
- Careful with That Axe: Julien frequently sounds completely unhinged, and it is certainly fitting that he works in a psychiatric hospital.
- Concept Album: Asylum Cave, Carnivore Sublime, and Necrobreed.
- Cover Version: They have covered "Meticulous Invagination", "Du riechst so gut", and "Old" as bonus tracks for the deluxe edition of Carnivore Sublime. For the deluxe edition of Necrobreed, they covered "Biotech Is Godzilla" and "Christraping Black Metal", while the deluxe version of Obscene Repressed features a cover of "Get This".
- Deathcore: They certainly play with elements of this a fair bit, but they've never outright been this.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Their first two albums are almost nothing at all like the rest of their material, being blackened death metal with more emphasis on the "blackened" part.
- Genre-Busting: They're death metal beyond a doubt, but they mix elements of brutal death metal, black metal, melodic death metal, grindcore, thrash metal, deathcore, nu metal, and various other genres as needed (ranging from flamenco to hip-hop and even disco) to create something that really can't be pigeonholed.
- Gratuitous French: Justified in that they're from, you know, France.
- Lead Drummer: Kevin Paradis is widely known for his incredible technical skill and his fairly popular YouTube channel.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Truchan can do mid-ranged roars, gurgles, a hardcore-esque shout, pig squeals, grindcore-esque shrieks, thrash yelps similar to Paul Baloff's work in Exodus, and even straight-up rapping. Surprisingly, clean vocals are one of the few styles he hasn't done.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Solid 10 for the most part, occasionally a hard 10 on their heavier songs.
- Motor Mouth: A frequent technique of Truchan's.
- New Sound Album: Identisick was where their Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly tendencies really started to take hold, while Insane Cephalic Production before it saw them move away from the black metal style they originally played.
- Revolving Door Band: They've always had steady turnover, but let's put it this way: only two of the members who played on Carnivore Sublime were still around by the time they recorded Necrobreed, and one of them (Olivier Gabriel) left right before the latter album was released.
- Special Guest: A common part of their albums from Identisick onwards, with Leif Jensen (Dew-Scented), Christophe Gerardin (Kronos), Karsten Jager (Disbelief), Asphodel (Pin-Up Went Down), Sven de Caluwe, Mike Majewski, Niklas Kvarforth (Shining), Michael Kern (Carnal Decay), Trevor Strnad, Arno (Black Bomb A), Nikita Kamprad (Der Weg einer Freiheit), Jamey Jasta, Karsten Jager (Disbelief), and Sebastian Grihm having been among the more notable ones. Truchan has been one himself at various points, while Foley has become a frequent live session fill-in for various bands in need of an emergency substitute.
- Technical Death Metal: Has flirted with this, but they've never really outright crossed the line and become this. The Other Wiki even lists it as one of their genres.
- Teen Genius: Kevin Foley was only eighteen when he joined.
- True Companions: With Aborted.
- Widget Series: With their Genre-Busting tendencies and often odd and quirky song structures, Julien Truchan's theatrical and wide-ranged vocal style and phrasing, and their love of concept albums about damaged individuals descending into disturbing depths of madness, they are most certainly a Weird French Thing in death metal.