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It's beyond hard to make sure I don't come off like a blind fangirl to my most listened to album ever, but for good reasons has this become my most beloved album. What is it exactly about this masterwork that I used to hate has so much replay value? In a simple sense, it's the effort and skill that every instrument plays in this album. In a more complex sense, it's how everything comes together to make the most textured, wonderful, and technical brutal death metal albums that exists.
This is by all means the hardest album I've ever attempted to get into. The muddied production is way cleaner than say, Psalms of the Moribund, but is still incredibly melody deprived. I had to learn to appreciate this album through the bass and drums at first, which are both so beautifully executed I find myself spinning the album to listen solely to a play-through of one instrument. I'll listen to the drums for a go, reset the album, and listen to the bass this time. Lillie Gruber has become my favorite drummer ever since this album. A flurry of incredibly complex blasts and jazzy licks and fills help flesh out the identity of this unique brutal death metal album. Gruber knows when to take it slow and play a simple 4/4 rock beat over a slam, as well as when to show off his decade of practice in technicality in a key riff.
Yes, vocals are standard for the genre, but I'd have them no other way. There's no need to be experimental on an album that's not experimental (well perhaps with the drums, but nothing else). They're guttural, they're brutal, and they're punishing. There are plenty of moments when the vocalist stops to let the instrumentals take over, but he's low enough in the production to where you can always hear the bass, drums, and guitar well. Some of the best parts of the album is when there's a faint glow of melody after the vocals fade out, such as about 3 and a half minutes into Naraka, easily one of the star tracks.
Overall Passages Into Deformity is a flawless album, with so many strong points that you don't even have to "get" the album to appreciate it. Before you brush it off as a mess of convoluted chords and hyper-fast drums, give it a few listens. You'll learn to love some parts of the album. There is something here for every fan of death metal. Every track is a standout track, but for easier listening, I'd recommend Naraka, the Purging, and Perspectives.
I don't know if it's just me and the fact that I've been under the influence of edibles for almost 3 days solid as I type this, but for those past 3 days I have had this album on repeat non-stop. This is without a doubt the most fun experience I've found in a death metal album in God (if there is one out there) knows when.
Defeated Sanity was a band I will admit I have gotten into (more or less) recently. It started with their album Psalms of the Moribund a couple months ago which I had put on occasionally across those few months. I thought they were a little better than what I would call "average" and I admittedly liked the album for its vocals more than much else. But here, DS take it a whole 'nother level. Here, is the album where my opinion on the band totally shifted, when it came to listening to this over and over, I began finding myself loving everything with the vocals only being the cherry on top of the entire destructive audial assault that this CD contains. There is not a song that doesn't carry a riff that I had my head bobbing to. Not a single slam that I commenced my wiggerish arm movements to the rhythm of and not a single awkward electronic breakbeat or out-of-place random outro that these songs - for some reason - carry that I wouldn't mind listening the entire way through just to get to.
Saying I love EVERYTHING about a death metal album is a rare case. Usually I loathe tech death (I'm a slam death metal kinda guy. Kraanium , Cephalotripsy and Waking the Cadaver is the life for me). So it is indeed a strange thing to say that I loved pretty much every riff on this album, even more than their slam riffs. The band's slams come in during lesser and more rarer moments than what is found on Psalms of the Moribund, but the fact that Christian Kühn works as a lone wolf in the string department on this album, which is contrast to Psalms... which held two guitarists in its album credits, it's safe to assume that Kühn had much more creative freedom doing what he truly wanted to do. I'd be hard pressed to not admit that when this guy writes a riff, he writes a goddamn good riff. His prog and tech influences shine even sometimes showing comparisons to bands to the liking of Edge of Sanity and Kalisia, but combined with the jolty spazzed-out riffage and slams of bands like Devourment.
The humanistic feel of the whole album itself is also a huge plus for me. While I do enjoy Fallujah, it's been hard to even go back to their music after being exposed to this album. Defeated Sanity takes everything that a modern progressive death metal act such as Fallujah can do and amplifies it to my interest accordingly by almost twentyfold. The fact that Defeated Sanity can carry that primitive and natural human occurrence present in more analog recorded styles of brutal death metal but still feature a strong influence of tech/prog without having to get all computer savvy with it, it makes me wanna settle down and say I've finally found love. I think it exists now, and Defeated Sanity has proved this.
This album is amazing. It's caveman-brutal but has tons of brilliant riffs to excuse it from being lumped in as the kind of brutal death metal album that you'd pass off on the assumption that it was created for a person with an IQ less than 20. Get high off cannabis and turn this album up loud while you take a couple drives around your area, I swear you will find love too.
Oh and for the record, happy 4/20.
Technical death metal you have in one hand and in the other you have technical brutal death metal. In terms of brutality, the scale favors the latter. As obvious as that might seem even a style like progressive metal can be brutalized if applied the right way and I believe “Passages Into Deformity” accomplished that fairly nice.
With such a effort coming from Defeated Sanity, “Passages Into Deformity” is not exactly an easy album to listen to. If you are truly dedicated in getting something from this album you’ll have to listen through it several times. So much is coming at you that your mind cannot bear to be at ease until it comprehends the album more. It’s definitely a fascinating and interesting album not just another “Look how fast I can play” or “I am the most brutal and goriest band on the face of the planet”. I think it’s great that Defeated Sanity focus more on the music rather than trying to top who has the goriest album cover. As you can see they were quite humble about it, I mean it’s defecating but not wildly explicit. The damage and orifice mutilation is in the music itself. The slow and torturous method but also the mechanically complex contraptions of unthinkable proportions. It conceives severe punishment in small segments at some of the most excruciating pain.
Are Jacob Schmidt and Lille Gruber post-rejected Siamese twins? Even though they each have their own bodies they could’ve fooled me. Their chemistry with their playing is so in sync it’s as if they share one body. What they do in this album is just incredible. The production on "Passages Into Deformity” favorably accommodates Schmidt and Gruber. Creating jazz-fusion bass lines in a few sections which I am a sucker for. He's also able to compliment Gruber’s playing as he fires aggressive progressive drum lines. The drumming is fantastic, no words can explain it. The years have been fortunate as they have matured his style, techniques, and the choices he makes unto the album. On the downside the production flaws the guitar work of Christian Kuhn. I had to adjust my volume to a specific level or else it sounds completely obnoxious if it peaks a certain level. However, while his playing is not the best it sure works great here. I’m absolutely not a fan of slamming metal but it was sufficient. I actually started to play some air riffs along the way, I got sucked into the music.
Gruber brought out the best in everyone that’s probably why I found the riffs enjoyable. To finish the album off he goes into a drum solo on “Martyrium” and while the album ends, It’d be wise to hear “Passages Into Deformity” once again.
Defeated Sanity are known for their mix of early Suffocation/Cryptopsy-esque technical death metal and the slamming brutal death metal style of bands such as Devourment or Disgorge, and on this album the band have managed to improve on both of these styles. To make music more technical while also adding a lot more slam parts is truly an impressive feat. Everything is perfectly balanced. The music really showcases how talented each individual musician is without it getting to the point of them being so technical they're pretty much just showing off.
From the in-your-face-from-the-start riffs and slams of "Initation" to the epic feel of the 6-minute "Perspectives" to the outro to "Martyrium" this album is pretty much non-stop excellence. The riffs laid down by Christian Kühn are insanely memorable and catchy while still being very technical, and the slams come in at exactly the right moments to pound the listener's head in. Defeated Sanity aren't a band to use solos more than once an album, and this time around it's "Perspectives" that contains one, but Defeated Sanity don't really need them as their music is still technical and enjoyable without them.
Jacob Schmidt has always been able to show off what he can do on the bass, but it's on this album where he finally really shines, notably in "Naraka" and "Verblendung", and his performance definitely puts him up there with the likes of DiGiorgio or Langlois. Lille Gruber drops a precision assault with his expert drumming, easily switching between frantic Mounier blast beats and jazzy fills with flair.
Anyone who's ever heard Despondency will know Konstantin Luhring is a very capable death metal vocalist, and he has some big shoes to fill considering Defeated Sanity's previous album was with the almighty AJ Magana on guttural duty (who also provides some guest vocals on this album). Konstantin definitely puts on his best performance, rather than being the one uninspiring element amid the excellent performances from his bandmates.
Overall this is a very worthy addition to Defeated Sanity's already excellent discography, and has the potential to be my definite favourite album of 2013. Even at the end of the year when there's nothing else to come this is still going to be ranked very high. If you're not a fan of the band and you're just browsing reviews i'd personally recommend you start on Chapters of Repugnance first, but any and all fans of Suffocation, early Cryptopsy and perhaps even Human-era Death should find something enjoyable here.
Highlights: Initation, Naraka, Perspectives, Frenzy, Martyrium
It has been nearly three years since Defeated Sanity's last album hit the shelves. 2013 sees the German band's latest dense and nearly impenetrable collection of tunes arriving via Passages Into Deformity. And long-time fans have plenty to be excited about.
Passages Into Deformity is not a radical departure from 2010's Chapters of Repugnance, but there are a few noteworthy changes. For starters, the songs are immediately more memorable due to both the album's greater number of catchy riffs and better production quality. As far as the writing goes, the songs have slightly more repetition and stronger parts that help the songs stick in the listener's head. That's not to say that Defeated Sanity has become easily digestible. In fact, the band is still far from it. But for seasoned brutal death metal listeners, these songs will jump out at them sooner than past Defeated Sanity tunes. Tracks like "Naraka" and "Verblendung," two of the band's best songs to date, make this evident.
The production helps the songs as well by being less bottom-heavy than Chapters of Repugnance and clearer than Psalms of the Moribund. The album's sound sits somewhere in between the two which creates a clarity that allows the songs to shine through Defeated Sanity's trademark dark murkiness. In fact, the production allows the bass and the drums to cut through the mix quite clearly making these instruments the true stars of the album. There are tons of noodly bass parts that are easily audible whether it be during obvious "bass solo fills" like in "Naraka" and "Verblendung" or in a more subtle form as in "Lusting For Transcendence" and "The Purging." Also benefiting from the production style, the drums are constantly moving and add plenty of stuttering time shifts and jazzy grooves that make Passages Into Deformity feel like more than your standard brutal death metal release. While the drumming and bass playing in Defeated Sanity have always been top-notch, the production puts this fact in your face and in this regard brings to mind the work of early Cryptopsy.
Another noteworthy change is actually somewhat more of the same. On Passages Into Deformity, Defeated Sanity has yet another new vocalist. This now makes for four vocalists over the course of four albums. So in essence, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Some may recognize the new vocalist from his time in Despondency, but sound-wise he's really not that different from other Defeated Sanity growlers.
Other than the changes mentioned above, Passages Into Deformity is basically an improved version of the Defeated Sanity we already know. Despite the fact that the songs are more catchy now, it still takes some time for the album to sink in. The riffs remain a collection of blurs of technicality and muddy chugging. There are still few guitar solos with the exception of a brief lead in "Verses of Deformity" and some spastic sort-of-solos in "Perspectives." As mentioned previously, the jazzy fills and floppy bass noodling of the past continue to pepper the tunes as well.
With Passages Into Deformity, Defeated Sanity has essentially taken the strongest points from past releases and blended them into one monster of an album. The stronger production and songwriting help push Passages Into Deformity beyond anything the band has done to date. People who weren't fans in the past still probably won't "get it," but the converted need to buy this immediately. Established fans will be blown away.
Originally written for http://www.metalpsalter.com