Death metal culture involves a lot of entertaining idiosycrasies, but my current favorites involve brutal death metal, the Hulked-out subgenre that Germany’s Defeated Sanity occupies. The entire edifice is a paradox: It’s technically smart but conceptually idiotic, vile but hilarious, strictly for adults and yet juvenile as hell. The best brutal death metal bands recognize all these crossed wires and play with them.
Defeated Sanity have become past masters of this bizarre balancing act. (Wormed, who released a fantastic album earlier this year, are another good example.) This strangely brainy unit has historically employed 21st-century sophistication to achieve caveman effects, and their new album, Disposal Of The Dead // Dharmata, spotlights that tension in bizarre fashion. Originally billed as “a split album with ourselves,” Disposal Of The Dead // Dharmata consists of two EP-length halves. The first, Disposal Of The Dead, consists of the ridiculously punishing brutal death metal Defeated Sanity is already known for, boiled down to its simplest and most animalistic elements. Dharmata, by contrast, takes a hard left turn — it’s fluid, fusiony extreme metal in the style of ’90s pioneers such as Atheist and Cynic. We’re talking very deliberate worship along the lines of Gruesome or The County Medical Examiners. Current Cynic member Max Phelps even provides vocals on this material, in lieu of regular-duty gurgler Konstantin Lühring.
Defeated Sanity are good enough at the prog-death thing to pursue a successful career along those lines, but it’s the primitive thudding of Disposal Of The Dead that really capitalizes on the band’s strengths. Like certain species of club-friendly electronic music, this material is basically a bunch of wildly unnatural, bass-heavy rhythmic noises set up to make you say “Ooooh SHIT!” and then jump around in ludicrous fashion when certain transitional moments arrive. “Into The Soil” packs about ten potential “Ooooh SHIT!” spots into its 4 minutes, but my personal favorite comes at 3:42, when the slammy groove from the song’s opening salvo metamorphoses into an even slammier version of itself. It’s a meta-slam! Defeated Sanity are kings of the meta-slam, and they’re kings of bringing counterintuitive guttural joy to your lucky ears. Listen.
Disposal Of The Dead // Dharmata will be out 7/22 via Willowtip Records.