Fixtures of the Brutal Death Metal scene since their 2004 debut full-length “Prelude to the Tragedy,” Germany’s DEFEATED SANITY lithely mix technicality and brutality in the vein of New York’s SUFFOCATION or California’s DISGORGE, and while the band’s follow-up records, 2007’s “Psalms of the Moribund” and 2010’s “Chapters of Repugnance,” have witnessed the band ratcheting up the violence and darkness with a steady resolve, DEFEATED SANITY’s latest album, “Passages into Deformity,” presents a sound that might throw long-time fans for a spin.
“Passages into Deformity” is, simply put, DEFEATED SANITY at their best. Reducing the bleak savagery found on the monumentally crushing “Chapters of Repugnance,” this latest creation is an old school blast-to-the-past, a grooving and inhospitable deluge of ‘90s-inspired Brutal Death Metal that mashes virtuoso musicianship with stunning ferocity. And so much like Willowtip brethren MALIGNANCY and their latest, “Eugenics,” listeners may be pressed to use an adjective not normally associated with these German sluggers – fun.
Still present are the band’s signature jazzy fills, relentless tempos and progressive time changes, and, of course, that devastatingly heavy bass-tone, but with “Passages into Deformity,” DEFEATED SANITY have brought with them a considerably improved production. Whereas past records were caked in atmospheric dirt and grimness, the improved clarity and texture found on this 2013 effort welcomes each instrument into the fray while nary compromising the band’s markedly evil guitar tones and punishing rhythm section. It’s this augmented production by NIGHTFALL drummer and Soundlodge Studio owner Jörg Uken that serves all the better when the band is doling out some of the grooviest and heaviest riffs of their career; case in point “Naraka” or “Verblendung” or “Perspectives” or…you get the gist.
From the Grind-length opener “Initiation,” with its rapid-fire and off-kilter snare hits, to “Verses of Deformity” and its Pat O’Brien-style solo and mix of old school slams and new school detail, “Passages of Deformity” succeeds in large part to its intensity and unbridled imagination, but then further sets itself apart by sounding like a mix of the very heaviest VILE and CRYPTOPSY have had to offer.
A word to the wise: when 2013 is said and done, don’t be surprised if DEFEATED SANITY’s “Passages into Deformity” is still reigning atop the Brutal Death Metal crest.
(Online January 2, 2013)