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Death metal purveyors Deeds Of Flesh finally return after a five-year absence with their latest and greatest, 2013's Portals To Canaan. And with it, the band triumphantly marks their twentieth year in existence. Portals To Canaan add to what is already an extensive resume for the band and perhaps shines as their greatest work to date. It is Deeds' eighth full-length album and blasts nine tracks of concentrated death metal equaling one precise, polished package.
We last heard Deeds Of Flesh in 2008 upon their release Of What's To Come. That particular record found the band gradually delving into more of a technical approach in the music in contrast to the more traditional straight-forward brutality of their previous releases. It is notable that Of What's To Come also featured Erlend Caspersen of Spawn Of Possession and formerly Blood Red Throne on bass. With Portals To Canaan, the band continues with the technical death metal style, and seemingly has streamlined it to perfection. They mastered their own brand of tech death that is not overwhelming complicated while maintaining their brutal trademark sound. It refrains from deluging the listener with sensory overload and balances nicely with the band's more standard brutal structures. No doubt Portals To Canaan is Deeds Of Flesh to the core; however, the band has uploaded a new and improved technical element to their style. Deeds Of Flesh 2.0 if you will. Furthermore, the album is produced to perfection with superior thickness and clarity.
The songs themselves stand as some of the best Deeds Of Flesh has ever written. They are strife with fluid guitar profiles and soloing. Perhaps the most intriguing is the track "Rise Of The Virvum Juggernaut". Each band member showcases their talents in an astounding manner. The death vocals of Erik Lindmark are at their most powerful, as is the unmerciful yet highly precise pounding of Mike Hamilton behind the drums. Perhaps influencing the band's new-found fondness for technicality is the addition of Craig Peters on guitar, and Ivan Munguia on bass. Both are from the highly technical California outfit Arkaik, and in the case of Munguia, Brain Drill; and both are prodigal musicians at that. Overall, Deeds Of Flesh are as tight sounding as they've ever been. Added to Portals To Canaan's mix are some interesting spoken and bio-mechanical sound samples. Every song is great, and it's worth noting that the album additionally contains a cover of Gorguts' "Orphans Of Sickness" off of that band's groundbreaking LP, The Erosion Of Sanity, from 1993 (also Deeds of Flesh's first year as a band interestingly enough).
Portals To Canaan is an important offering to today's metal scene. It is a simplistic death metal album on many levels, but it's multi-layered with many progressive qualities. It is an astonishingly written, performed and produced beast. All around, it satisfies the craving for something straight-forwardly down to Earth, crushingly brutal, yet technically intricate at the same time. Deeds Of Flesh have forged a masterpiece and most definitely their best work to date. While the band has been around for quite some time now, Portals To Canaan proves they have not out stayed their welcome and still have a lot to offer per today's metal scene. In fact, they have produced a work that overshadows many of their newer contemporaries. The band is far from relinquishing their title as a death metal power house, and it will be interesting to see where the future finds them next.
***Originally written for and by www.deathportal.net