Review Summary: Though far from reinventing the wheel, Humanity Defiled's debut release is balls-to-the-wall brutality at its finest, invoking the sonic wrath of bands such as Torture Division and old-school Deicide.
Humanity Defiled is a death metal one-man-band from the lands of Belgium, and the mastermind behind the outfit is none other than Iwein Denayer. He just recently dropped his debut full-length, entitled "Circling the Drain
", and boy, does it kick your mother's ass. From its rampaging guitar riffs to its vicious vocal tracks, this record is a brutal listen from beginning to end. Running for ten tracks and just over thirty-four minutes, "Circling the Drain
" proves to be an aggressive start for Iwein's project, and it's got plenty of replay value to go around with a rather quick play time and a very catchy sound to it. Let's dig in, shall we?
The musical concept of this album seems to rely pretty exclusively on short tracks that grab you by the balls and simply refuse to let go until the end. With the exception of the nine-minute track 'Exit?', not a single song on the album stretches over three and a half minutes in length. And why should it? This kind of balls-and-everything-else-to-the-wall style of metal is short and bittersweet, like a good punch in the mouth after a long day at work. It's hard to get distracted when you're listening to "Circling the Drain
" because just when you got settled into the track you're listening to, it ends, and a new punch lands. It's violent, it's ballsy, it's a little haphazard, even - but it works. For the first time in a long time, I stopped writing my review so I could listen to the damn thing from start to finish.
Besides being a captivating listen, playing Denayer's debut full-length is a brutalizing experience. The guitars have a crunchy, filthy, gravely tone to them, setting the tone for the rest of the instrumentation - but you'll find a lot more than simple chugging on "Circling the Drain
". The fast-paced technical solo you hear on "Beneath the Threshold" is one of many examples of variety within the composition of this beast, and you'll hear plenty wild riffs and tones being chucked hither and thither during your listen. Even when things slow to a crawl during "Exit?", the guitar is the driving force that cuts cleanly between the rest of the mix - like separating the chaff from the wheat, if you will.
The anger doesn't stop with the guitar riffs, though, as you'll see as soon as you listen to the opening track. Denayer's vocals aren't the loudest or the deepest, but they get the job done - and they let you know just how pissed off the man is. The vocals are generally composed of mid-pitched growls and higher-pitched shrieks, but you'll hear the occasional low roar in tracks like "Yours, Defiantly". Denayer did a very good job at creating a sound environment where his vocals complimented the instrumentation, and rather than lead the album's mixing, they take the proverbial backseat while the guitarwork and the drumming picks up the pace. I'd like to see his vocal techniques improve and gather more of an aural presence next time - like they do in "Exit?" - but they got the job done well enough in the majority of "Circling the Drain
Between the guitars tearing me a new one and the vocals screaming away in my ears, I barely had time to listen to the drum fills - but I heard more than enough from tracks like "Blood Stained Species". There are a select few songs on "Circling the Drain
" that really show off Denayer's talent in composing catchy death metal songs, and his skill with the drumset is not overlooked. Be it programmed or hand-played, the drumming on his debut is brilliantly-orchestrated as he obtains a perfect sound balance between the drum fills, the guitar riffs, and the vocals. This balance is the single most important aspect of making his aggressive debut such a catchy listen, and it worked like a charm. The fast-paced blast beats and bass kicks gun this album's BPM up to the high 200s at times, and that's respectful for the quickie of a release that it is - but Denayer knows when to slow down, and he does it properly.
In keeping with the praise I've offered it, "Circling the Drain
" is a very respectable full-length from Iwein Denayer's Humanity Defiled. The single sample, heard in the song "Exit?", was perfectly blended with the backdrop and is definitely worthy of mention as one of my favourite moments on the album. Tracks like "Stray Sheep" are so succinct and violent that they might as well have appeared on a Torture Division demo. And the album itself opens with some of the most convincing and captivating drum-guitar melodies that I've heard in a long while. I can only hope for more releases like this from Denayer and his contemporaries, as this is some of the finer death metal I've had the pleasure of listening to recently. Kudos to you, Iwein, and be sure to shoot me your next album. I'd love to give it an ear.