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Dehumanized burst into the NYC death metal scene propelled by their classic New York slam style death metal in 1998 with their debut "Prophecies Foretold". 90s death metal was an ever-evolving scene, its main feature being that of speedy and complex riffing to rival the more tone-based and heavy riffing of the 80s. Despite being a frontrunner of such a scene, Dehumanized still managed to set themselves apart from the rest with their clever manipulation and addition of metalcore-style breakdowns as can be seen in their new album, "Controlled Elite".
Listening to the album, I realized something special about this band that reeks strangely of “cool”. I don’t know if the right words to use would be “badass” or “swag” – the latter of which is a word with a denunciatory connotation – but it’s there and if there’s no word for it, that could be a good thing for the band. They might be able to patent it. That being said, that general characteristic again does its work in setting the band apart from other bands in the death metal genre, some of whose “characters” and “personalities” can be said to be overkill. You have your morbid types, horror types, brooding types, and then you have Dehumanized, who sound like they were raised in the ghetto and have it tougher and cooler than Eminem does. You can just imagine the band stalking and prowling the stage as they work their essence of cool into the crowd. I guess it’s just a New York thing.
The band’s promo described the music as infused with “bludgeoning blast beats and plenty of old school NYC style grooves with colossal audio production!” which cannot be truer. As was said earlier, these guys propagate slam style death metal, and you can’t really propagate unless you’re good at what you do. Technique-wise, there’s nothing to shout about, but the songs all pack a thick punch, especially with those genius breakdowns. However it’s not to be forgotten that this is a death metal band. The ominous, bleak, and menacing feel is there, but this band comes off as cleaner than most. Vocalist Michael Centrone certainly has some chords, and he does an interesting job of infusing variation into each song with his diverse techniques. The drums, as with most death metal albums, are great as well, but what really got me on the boat was the “colossal audio production”. Colossal might be an exaggeration, but there is a nice, clean sound there coupled with a clear tone in all instruments that I crave for in death metal bands. Yes, they crunch, but each static aberration in the distortion is clear and gratifyingly so.
Overall, it’s a commendable album. If you’ve noticed, I didn’t really pinpoint any one song from the album to critique, mainly because the songs weren’t the killer standouts that defined them as a band. It was the entire thing packed up together that had an impact – together. Dehumanized is one of those bands that can’t be picked apart by the individual songs they produce. Their work has to be taken in as a whole mainly because all of it is built on their personality and character. All this leads up to the album being an enjoyable listen, though slightly unexceptional, but still one of the good ones I’ve heard in the past months.
Originally written for http://www.metal-temple.com