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As the only luthier with balls big enough to work with Mr King, BC Rich was unphased by his plan to splice the Beast body with the barbs of his Speed V. The resulting Beast V has taken mere months to prototype, but that’s probably because it’s quite derivative, featuring the kind of bolt neck, B.D.S.M units and string-thru tail that BC Rich can knock out in its sleep.
King’s bone-snapping sound is built on active EMG pickups, a thru neck and a Kahler vibrato, so if you want to sound like the big man, you’ll need to save for the pricier Beast V NT.
Inevitably, this minimalist version suffers by comparison, but it’s a pro package for £279 and one that gets you in the Slayer ballpark with an unfussy two-octave neck capable of thrash chugs and squealies, and a set of ’buckers that (while not desperately memorable) fuse with the natural sustain of the basswood body for a useful, dark grind.
We’d love to say, ‘Hell, yeah!’, but the Beast V is more a case of ‘Hmm, not bad’. With that price, you have to agree this represents one hell of a bargain, offering performance that aspirant metal gods couldn’t have dreamt of back in the bad old days, and marking itself out as a solid choice for semi-pro gigs. All the same, there’s a sense of déjà vu, meaning that this model must be filed under ‘watertight’, not ‘life-changing’.
Pros: Solid and unfussy metal tones.
Cons: We’ve seen it all before.