Review Summary: A step down...Into Hell!
But really, Chapters of Repugnance
is the sonic companion piece to The Inferno
, and furthermore, the soundtrack of perpetual torment. Of course, this is a comparison that many death metal bands receive throughout their career, and one that is usually considered an innate quality of the genre. Defeated Sanity however, amplify any presuppositions one might have of Hell and turn it ten-fold. With Chapters
, they provide a vision inimical to the typical, and capture, unapologetically so, the darkest facets of human depravity.
In the interval since their last release, Defeated Sanity has undergone a couple of major line-up changes. In 2008, the band saw the departure of Wolfgang Teske, the founder of the band, as well as vocalist Jens Staschel. Wolfgang, who still has creative input in the band (the drummer is his son), was not replaced, Staschel on the other hand was replaced by ex-Disgorge deity AJ Magana. With this replacement, the band sacrificed a bit of brutality for raw skill (and Magana has a much better style overall). Magana is a welcome addition to the band and provides some of the best vocal patterns in the genre. He immediately makes his presence felt with his first pattern (on the second track) essentially claiming “This is my ***ing band.”
The one thing that Chapters
does not have going for it, is that it doesn't quite shake the earth like its predecessor did. Psalms of the Moribund
is widely considered one of the most brutal albums in existence and took the scene by force, and on Chapters
the band doesn't really make an impactful evolution. Instead, they opt to stick where they are comfortable whilst toning down the brutality a whit; this lessened brutality is due to the slightly cleaned-up production, as well as Magana's vocals, which are better, but not as brutal as Jens'. What Defeated Sanity loses in brutality, they make up for in advancing the almost non-existent flaws of the previous album. The songwriting on Chapters
shows more maturity (in the typical sense), is tighter overall, and feels more structured; albeit there are less standout moments. Whether this is for better or worse is up to the listener, because the extremely chaotic structures on Psalms
were by no measure a folly.
The introduction to the album is one of the better intros in brutal death metal, considering that most bands open their albums with either a sample or no intro at all. As such, it's refreshing to hear one that is actually well-executed, regardless of whether or not it holds up well as a song. Also, Defeated Sanity have always had an inimitable style of technical riffing tantamount to having each of your ligaments slowly sawed off, but being the reprobate that you are, you enjoy it (a hackneyed analogy, surely, but with Defeated Sanity it actually makes sense). Their choice in slams are that of a depraved contour, as they don't so much aim for the grooviness that most other bands do, but focus on pulverizing the listener; that is to say, the slam-style here is almost exactly the same as on Psalms
. Slamming may be slowly going out of style, but Engulfed in Excruciation (~2:50) not only contains what is guaranteed to be the best slam of 2010, but one of the best moments in any genre for the year.
Chapters of Repugnance
is a healthy amalgam of Defeated Sanity's previous two albums, mixing the song structures of Prelude
, with the filthier, slam-oriented aspects of Psalms
. Fraught with spasmodic riffing, crushing slams, and AJ ***ing Magana, all elegantly compacted with the eye of a debauched architect, Defeated Sanity prove once again that this entire genre is their bitch.