For the vast majority of us slaves to metal, blasting hideously incomprehensible noise in a desire to piss our parents off as much as possible was part and parcel of growing up. But what happens when your old man pops his head round the door and instead of taking his belt to you, not only asks for the volume to be increased, but enquires if you fancy forming a band?
Apocryphal the above tale may be, but for Defeated Sanity drummer Lille Gruber, it forms the basis of his story. The band he formed with his father Wolfgang Teske in Dachsbach, Germany are just one year shy of their 20th anniversary, and although their recorded output has been minimal, the impact has been felt throughout the extreme metal underground, with headline spots at the legendary and secretive Mountains of Death festival to fevered excitement surrounding their next moves becoming ever more palpable. 2013 sees the band once again reduced to a quartet with Gruber the sole surviving member, but his Papa will no doubt be proud of the punishing maelstrom that is Defeated Sanity’s new opus; “Passages Into Deformity.”
Despite hailing from darkest Bavaria, Defeated Sanity’s brand of brutal death metal worships at the viscera-soaked altars of the genre’s American giants, specifically Suffocation and Devourment. First track ‘Initiation’ hurls you in at the deep end, with the instruments seemingly attempting to out race each other whilst maintaining a level of technicality and precision that is frankly intimidating. The likes of ‘Naraka’ and ‘Verblendung’ nail the classic sound to a tee with rapid high-end snare hits, jazzy bass-lines and ultra-guttural, incomprehensible vo-kills bombarding your eardrums with merciless intent. The guitar tone of Christian Kühn resembles one of Leatherface’s favourite toys, and the occasional clean-note sweeps that emerge from the storm only leave you wondering how melody can sound so devastating.
It’s not all hissing overload however, as the low-slung, filthy groove of ‘The Purging’ proves. Those who prefer their death metal with an extra juicy helping of slamz will be happier than a pig at a morgue as the members frequently drop the pace with riffs solely designed to cause merry hell in the live environment as the urge to get low and contort your body like a possessed woodpecker becomes an all consuming thought. That’s if you’re not left aghast at the ferocious onslaught of ‘Perspectives’, a near seven-minute ripper that must be approaching some kind of record for molested fretboards and devastated hi-hats.
“Passages Into Deformity” is one of the finest death metal albums you will hear all year, and while its hyper-fast delivery and chaotic nature will put many off, it’s an record that deserves to be delved into, if not just for forcing death metal into further realms of brutality, but for an appreciation of good old fashioned German efficiency.