Of the half dozen metal bands called Deranged this Swedish bunch are probably the most well-known having been around for 25 years but with only Rikard Wermén (drums) being the sole remaining founding member. Since that time the band has released eight albums and a peppering of EPs of uncompromising ear shattering death metal violence. Flying virtually under the radar of most death metallers I suspect, the bands output of truly horrifying deathliness has never waned even when many of their compatriots shifted focus into a more groove laden style, which in some way has possibly restrained the bands appeal especially over the last 15 years with the influx of core sub-genres.
With that in mind this ninth album appearing some five years since “Cut Carve Rip Serve” seems to have crawled out of the sewer virtually unnoticed which is unusual as I have followed this band since they released “Rated-X” over 20 years ago. My expectations of a sonic annihilation were unfulfilled but sees the band grasping the core of their style and injecting modicums of melody that much of their previous work is missing, but was also the major appeal for yours truly. The cover art has an 80s slasher movie style which and gives the listener a good reference point for where this bands affections lie as the opener ‘The Frail Illusion Of Osteology” hacks into life with a very catchy riff followed by a cymbal smash riff break and following trademark blurring blast that has some similarities to Krisiun due to its machine gunning assault.
I must admit to feeling a little disappointed with the album overall as whilst it is emblematic of the Deranged style the production is sterile, lacking density and that unerring sense of being pulverised to a pulp though I’m certain when the songs are played live as they will be devastating. Bands have to progress and with this release there is an injection of melody that flows along the tar laden riff gulches which blanket the tunes with an oppressive but pounding beat as “Hello From The Gutters” ably shows. That slithering malice continues into “Reverent Decomposition” before bearing teeth with a faster more typical Deranged riff complete with cymbal smash breaks, previously mentioned, which I have always loved about this bands song writing. Vocally this release trawls the depths of low frequency nihilism like a demented and deformed sibling skulking within the songs adding weight to the bass work and the drums which seem lightweight compared to the guitar riffs and vocals.
“Shivers Down Your Broken Spine” is a very good beastly tune but is far too close to Morbid Angel’s “Where The Slime Live” which is battered aside by “Cold Icy Hands” and a return to what the band does best and that’s impale the listener with an onslaught of metronomic violence that rampages into the title track with homicidal glee and even has tuneful lead breaks. It is clear that the band has decided to slow things down as “Toy Box Torture Chamber” returns the album to the sludgier style riffing maintaining the pace at a slower rate leaving the closer “Undead Instrument By Grim Ascendancy” to round off the album in proper Deranged fashion by hacking chunks of flesh out of you whilst salivating maniacally.
Not the bands best album but a welcome return to the worlds death metal stage, Deranged write tunes to chop up your neighbour to whilst necking a few cans of extra strong beer to keep that thirst in check.
(7.5/10 Martin Harris)