Review Summary: A monumental improvement for Cam's one man band, Deprive sees Disfiguring The Goddess - for the most part - realise its potential.
Brainchild of popular EDM producer Cameron Argon, Disfiguring the Goddess has always been a perplexing little project. Conjured in 2006 as little more than a bit of brutal fun, the one-man band quickly developed into something more serious as Cam became more competent, and consequently more adventurous. However, there was always something inhibiting the project from blossoming into something remarkable, a sense that Cam was distracted by bigger and better things, namely his career as Big Chocolate. Although undeniably brutal, Disfiguring The Goddess’ music has always given off the impression that Cam not only doesn’t take the project seriously enough, but that he just doesn’t care, until now.
Ever since the demo material began to make waves in 2008, the electronic undertones have been a fairly distinguishing feature in Disfiguring The Goddess’s sound, but the overall execution of it reflected a hint of neglect. Enter Deprive
, and now Disfiguring The Goddess not only sounds like an authentic brutal death metal band, but a proficient and respectable one. Gone are the abysmal production jobs that somehow managed to meld the worst elements of under and overproduction respectively, replaced by a cement thick yet crisp soundscape laced with delicate synths and ambience. Cameron’s doubling as both an EDM and brutal death artist had resulted in the latter’s potential being stifled, but now there is harmony, a balance between the best of both worlds. The electronic elements no longer clash obnoxiously with the abrasive soundscape of brutal death, and instead add an eerie atmosphere that the unconventional song-writing is able to capitalise on.
Despite the night-and-day progress in terms of composition and production, Deprive
still retains the primal sound that Cameron has so vigilantly pursued for his project. If there’s one thing that elevated Disfiguring The Goddess’ earlier material above the doldrums of the scene, it was character. Given Cam’s sheer diversity in terms of musical output, his brutal death material always had an intrinsic charisma, irrespective of execution. Thankfully his quirky blend of the synthetic and the metallic has been not only preserved but greatly enriched. Though a night and day improvement it may be, there are still a number of setbacks, stemming primarily from the brutal death clichés that have eternally hindered the genre’s status as a respected art form. Cam’s fetish for obnoxiously loud percussion and frequent breakdowns has been quelled to an extent, however the otherwise impressive soundscape is still somewhat marred. A number of the ambient nuances are shattered or otherwise partially washed out by the characteristically brutal death attributes, though this doesn’t stop Deprive
from turning out to be a great album in its own right.
Instrumentally the album isn’t too far removed from Disfiguring The Goddess’ earlier material. Gravity blasts, slams, tremolo picking and otherworldly guttural vocals are still in abundance, however the ante has been upped tenfold, and the riff patterns are now not only brutal as hell but actually interesting. In addition to the infectious grooves and blistering riffs, what makes the album is their scrupulous interlacing with the aforementioned electronics. Cam obviously knows his multiple trades well, and now finally seems to be assimilating them effectively, utilising a wide variety of tools to maximise the overall experience. A combination of surprisingly delicate keys, intense choral effects and sparse ambience makes up the bulk of the electronic accents, which aid the song-writing to cap off the whole experience in grandiose fashion. “Home of the Dollmaker” is arguably the album’s highlight, unpredictable yet cohesive, thus managing to create something rarely pulled off in modern brutal death; tension and suspense. The juxtaposition of brief choral snips, breaks and shape shifting riffs routinely catch the listener off-guard, and this sense of weariness permeates the entire album. Unfortunately, there are infrequent moments where segues are ineffective and the electronics could have been expanded on further, and this is perhaps due to Deprive
’s brevity. Barely clocking in at 19 minutes once the hidden track is dismissed from the equation, the album lets up before the listener’s had their fix, leaving them craving for more and ultimately a little dissatisfied.
Regardless if Deprive
’s sister album Black Earth Child
was meant as an extension of this or not, it doesn’t change the fact that Deprive
suffers from its lack of weight as a single entity. Nevertheless, it is a massive step forward for Disfiguring the Goddess, and a signal that Cam sees this project as a bit more than a gimmick now. Whether or not he chooses to truly embrace what is now a winning formula remains to be seen, watch this space.