Defiled- In Crisis

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, January 9, 2011

Japan’s Defiled have been a member of the death metal scene for almost two decades now, and their sound has always seemed to channel the same styles of many of the American bands that formed around the same time. What this means is that the instrumentalists throw plenty of fast, chugging riffs at the listener and extremely harsh vocals and their newest full length In Crisis is no exception (and is also the group’s first album in over eight years). Although the production values do make many of the songs sound exactly the same, there are some moments where the guitars break through and really make Defiled distinguishable.

In Crisis’ instrumentals are a cross between early American death metal and what later evolved into the brutal death metal scene, which means that there is plenty of blasting, chugging, and groove driven riffs. Rather than going for the clean and highly polished production that many of the long running death metal groups have chosen to use, Defiled has stuck with a very underground and raw production/mix. This ends up being both a blessing and a curse, as while it makes the band sound more intense and loud than many of their peers it also makes too many of the songs sound exactly the same. The way that In Crisis has been mixed tends to give the bass and drums the majority of the spotlight, and as you would expect all of these instrumental parts sound similar to one another. There are some songs where the guitars break through and make a few of the tracks stand out, but it doesn’t happen quite as much as it could and this holds the band back a bit.

While the instrumentals tend to jumble together, what keeps Defiled interesting is the extreme growls coming from Kenji Sato. Sato has one of the most distorted and aggressive growls that I have heard from a death metal singer in quite some time, and he is even able to hit some slightly higher pitches at times. Despite the loud instrumental arrangements, the vocals are able to stand out above them and steal the spotlight on a number of occasions which definitely helps In Crisis overcome a few of its issues. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but Sato’s demonic growls will surely attract listeners to this band.

Defiled needs to find a way to bring its guitars out more, because if they can do this they will really be able to stand out in people’s minds. In Crisis is a decent album, and because it has some killer vocals and some occasional moments that really grab you I can still recommend it to death metal fans but I don’t see it being anyone’s favorite effort of 2011. There’s still plenty of potential though, and a few key tweaks to the production/mixing next time around could make a big difference.

Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by Season of Mist

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