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One monster of an album. - 90%

Roswell47, February 6th, 2013

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.

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