Review Summary: another fine example of top-notch death metal from good ol' Sweden
What made the 90’s a great time for death metal? For this question, I and many other dedicated fans could easily rattle off countless reasons as for why this underground genre rose to prominence two decades ago; abrasive, brutal and completely untamed, death metal in the 90’s was literally a boundary pushing monstrosity, ripping and tearing its way to the very forefront of the extreme metal scene. Undoubtedly contributing to the rampant growth of this underground phenomena was the genre’s worldwide reach; the United States had the Floridian death metal scene spearheaded by the great Morbid Angel and Death amongst others, Canada’s Cryptopsy dazzled the masses with their jaw-dropping technicality and all over Europe various countries often entertained their death metal indulgences in the form of region based divisions. Rightfully at the head of this pack was Sweden which offered its own highly influential death metal scenes in the forms of Stockholm and Gothenburg, two meccas that graced death metal with the likes of Unleashed, Entombed, In Flames and plenty of other famed groups. Formed in 1994, Defaced Creation was a Swedish death metal band from Osterund that existed throughout most of the 90’s by releasing a bunch of demos, splits, and EPs, saving their most notable release for Serenity in Chaos
an album that stands as a timeless classic within Swedish death metal’s impressively vast catalog.
Coming from Sweden, Defaced Creation’s no-nonsense death metal approach is surprisingly only a small bit tainted by the country’s most familiar extreme metal traits; more technical than Stockholm’s largely hardcore based sound and less tuneful than Gothenburg’s usual stock, Serenity in Chaos
is a strikingly aggressive death metal album that manages in retaining enough appeal to attract new-comers and hardened fans alike. However if you’re truly a fan of only the heaviest brands of death metal don’t let the aforementioned statement frighten you for one second; Serenity in Chaos
is not an “accessible” extreme metal album just an extremely well-crafted one. This is largely thanks to the unstoppable delivery of the monstrous Tommy Dalstrom, a man with easily some of the best gutturals in the entire genre. Death metal maybe known for its extremely off-putting vocal approach but this Swede brings the technique to new depths, relying on not overly deep or intelligible gurgles but a powerful, refined bark that commands attention in its unbridled ferocity. However, it is not only just the great roar of Dalstrom that makes him such a valuable asset on Serenity in Chaos
; his vocal prowess is evenly matched with his also great sense of timing. In “Kill the Light” he furiously spits satanic lyrics at a pace that perfectly accentuates all the strengths of the instrumental work while remaining strangely infectious themselves. In addition to his hideously hook filled deliveries, Dahlstrom displays some great versatility by also showing a knack for high-pitched rasps that in songs like the stomping "Infernal" is just another element that greatly adds to the band's appeal without sacrificing any of their merciless spirit.
Following in the footsteps of famed blasphemers such as Deicide and Immolation, Defaced Creation’s strong anti-Christian stance is made apparent all throughout Serenity in Chaos
along with a flurry of other bluntly offensive lyrical matter; second track “Macabre Exposure of Fleshly Devotion” features the great line ”Now you shall die retarded whore”
while album opener “Baptized in Fire” boldly challenges and denounces god, rapping insults that are strengthened and propelled by the band’s equally intense instrumentals. Guitarists Jorgen Bylander and Zeb Nilsson obviously had been honing their skills for years, as the work seen on Serenity in Chaos
is nothing less than amazing, an amalgamation of riffs and leads that definitely deliver the goods. As a song like “Devastation” will show, the Swedish duos guitar style is precise, well-composed but perhaps most importantly catchy; imbuing their work with a certain groove, the track intertwines devilish tremolo picked lines with chugging palm muted chords that even in their technicality could easily cause one to break out in fits spontaneous of head banging. Death metal with a hook may sound fishy, but Defaced Creation certainly pull it off in a resounding style that both elevates and separates them from their peers. “Enslave The Christians” may feature the ridiculously unsubtle and savagely simple chorus “ENSLAVE! CHRISTIANS! ENSLAVE! CHRISTIANS!”
but what’s even more ridiculous is the fact that the pinch harmonic and blast-beat laden music wouldn’t deter even a novice death metal fan from screaming along.
Serenity In Chaos
may not have found as much recognition as some other albums within the Swedish death metal scene but one could endlessly argue it was not because of any lack of quality; whether you find your favorite moment in “Fire Temple” where you bear witness to drummer Arttu Malkki’s furiously chaotic fills, the sinister vibes seething inside “Stillborn” or Dahlstrom’s rhythmic spewing of Satan in “Kill The Light”, one thing everyone can agree on is that from front to back Serenity in Chaos
is an incredibly solid and balanced death metal album. Although unfortunately Defaced Creation dissolved sometime shortly after the release of their sole album, the majority of the band's members did finally earn their deserved success with their next death metal endeavor Aeon, who is still together today. Lost but not forgotten, Defaced Creation’s Serenity in Chaos
doesn’t skate by on Swedish death metal’s honored reputation but is a prime example of what gives it one in the first place.