The more I think about it, I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard a Swedish Death Metal album as preposterously heavy as DERANGED’s second full-length, “High on Blood.” From beginning to end, this album is just rocket fuel. Non-stop crushing, blasting, and roaring that culminates into a monster so seething, so ferocious, that it’s simply too relentlessly violent to deem even remotely safe for successive listens.
As a fan of extremely heavy Metal, “High on Blood” is a personal conundrum. I’m well aware of how terrifically bad-ass this album; how it takes no survivors and laps up blood with fervor, but with all the spins I’ve given this album, DERANGED’s sophomore effort has an uncanny ability to send my synapses spinning. There is just so much blasting, so much unmitigated ferocity and speed, that finding enjoyment is near impossible.
This is really a hard call. It can just as easily be a home-run as it could be a strike-out. Yeah, “High on Blood” is that insanely and contrastingly nuts.
The album’s production job, while not crystalline, is open enough for the listener to hear every instrument in its gory, chaotic brilliance. Case in point, the berserk album-titled “High on Blood” careens into your ear drums like a kamikaze pilot. Now pretend you can hear said pilot’s passionate last words amid the din of searing jet engine, rushing wind, and screaming, fleeing ground troops. The album’s wall of racketing sound is frighteningly intense.
The main problem with this release, and this is clearly a double-edged sword depending on your current well-being, is the ceaselessly frenzied pace. It’s all-guns-blazing, full-speed-ahead, balls-to-the-wall gut shots at every turn, and after a while, you to start wonder: what exactly are these guys so pissed about, and is this album ever going to slow down?
This broiling semblance in tempo unfortunately blends many of the tracks into a collective, mutated beast that will rip you apart just as quickly as it will fall skull-first into a poorly-covered trapping pit. “High on Blood” is deadly, but it’s predictable because of its one-dimensional carnivorous intention.
Up to this point, this review may seem anti-DERANGED, but fear not, there is much to savor from such a brutally unstoppable album. There is more than enough head-banging poundage to go around, tracks like “(Eroti)kill” and “By Knife…” are gruesomely catchy, and the malevolent drumming by Rikard Wermén is truly something to behold; one of my favorite aspects about “High on Blood” is Wermén’s amazing use of machine-gun snare fills that he can apparently fit in at a moment’s notice.
Perhaps more influenced by USDM bands like CANNIBAL CORPSE and DEICIDE than their Swedish brethren, the ever-bouncing, all-destroying stride of “High on Blood” is an absolute endurance test for any Metal enthusiast. Highlighted by the obscenely crushing “With the Silence Came Horror,” this battering onslaught may ultimately suffer from its unrelenting nature, but considering that you’re dealing with an album that advocates blood as a narcotic, are you at all surprised?
(Online May 13, 2011)