Monday, June 10, 2013

Defeated Sanity - Passages into Deformity

Every album that Defeated Sanity puts out seems to be better than the one previous to it. I started listening to these guys when they only had two albums out. I got hooked onto the noisy brutality of their Psalms of the Moribund record. Then, without me knowing, they released a follow-up to that titled Chapters of Repugnance. So a year after it was released, I finally got my hands on it and instantly became addicted to the thick, meaty brutality that had grown in both maturity and technicality (I'll be discussing this later in the review). Now, after getting everyone's attention (including mine) with Chapters of Repugnance, Defeated Sanity are back with their most crushing album yet, Passages into Deformity.

Something that always bothered me about Defeated Sanity is the way the albums are mixed. In Psalms of the Moribund, everything sounded really muddy and almost overproduced. On top of that the vocals were almost completely drowned out to the point to where you really had to listen closely to hear them. Chapters of Repugnance solved that issue, but then again, it had its own problems as well. The drums on Chapters overpowered EVERYTHING to the point of being annoying. I think that Passages into Deformity is the first album that really fixed all the issues all the previous records had without creating any new ones. In other words, the sound of all the individual members, for the first time, sounds balanced.

Defeated Sanity really needs to NOT have a different vocalist on every album. When I learned that the guy from the brutal death masters Disgorge did the vocals on Chapters, I really hoped that he would be their longtime vocalist because, unlike some vocalists in the genre, he knows how to do inhaled growls and make it sound fucking good. Although the guy doing the vocals on this album sounds good and fits in with the rest of the band, it really is kind of a setback from the killer vocals that were delivered on Chapters of Repugnance.

Almost everywhere I see these guys on the internet, I see them being categorized as being a technical death band. Is there something I'm missing here? Because to me, Defeated Sanity doesn't sound all that technical. Unless now, any death metal band that has ANY amount of technicality is considered a technical death band (which kind of ruins the point of the genre). If that were true, that means Cannibal Corpse, Vader, Nile, Death, Suffocation, All Shall Perish, Morbid Angel, and so many other death metal, brutal death, and death grind bands would be considered technical death (ok well I guess I can understand Nile although I still just consider them to be a brutal death band). Since this confused the fucking hell out of me, I decided to go back and listen to Defeated Sanity's entire discography to find out why they're almost ALWAYS referred to as a technical death metal band.

As my initial reaction said, these guys aren't very technical at all. But, their sound does increase in complexity with each album. The bassist now has somewhat technical solos (most notably at the beginning of the second track, Naraka), which actually sound really cool. Besides that, and some of the lead guitar lines, these guys aren't any more technical than Cannibal Corpse. Something that Defeated Sanity DOES have, though, is an immense amount of purebred brutality. Their record label, Willowtip, claims this to be the most brutal album of 2013. As much as I disagree with that statement (new Guttural Secrete album, anyone?), I can't disagree with the fact that this record is brutal as fucking hell. The vocals, although not as high-pitched and guttural as the ones on Chapters, are much harsher and...well...more brutal than any of the other Defeated Sanity albums! The guitar distortion could use to have some more crunch, but it still sounds good.

Probably the best thing about Passages into Deformity is the maturity of the sound. Defeated Sanity, as a whole, have obviously matured a great deal since the release of Chapters of Repugnance. Everything from the song structure to the overall organization of the sound is stronger, more thought-out, and more confident than ever before; making Passages of Deformity a much easier album to digest and understand. And on top of all that, this album has the best cover artwork of any other past release by this band. I would strongly recommend this to all fans of brutality and death metal alike. Passages into Deformity gets my score of 16/20.