Defeated Sanity / Deranged / Putridity

The Black Heart, London on Thursday 12 December 2013

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German technical death metallers Defeated Sanity are a fairly reoccurring event in the UK and having only been here in August, they are back on. However, with Sweden's Deranged also on the road, the capital is faced with both of these death metal shows conflicting. Not all is lost as a smart promoter has decided to combine the two tours into a single event, a solution that more London clashing shows should adopt. Once again, the underground death metal faithful assemble at Camden's Black Heart to worship at the altar of down-tuned riffs, relentless blastbeats and guttural vocals.

Italy's Putridity were last seen in London supporting the influential Devourment in 2010. Signed to Willowtip Records like the headliners, their take on brutal death metal is laced with rhythmic slam death metal passages that ensure heads are banging. With two full-length albums attached to their name, Putridity's take on death metal is very typical of the genre with no discerning creativity or attempt to stand out, proudly drawing influence from the aforementioned Devourment in addition to Suffocation like the vast portion of modern slam death metal bands. The music additionally loses some of its grit with the absence of their bassist Alessando Cravero who is unable to make the shows. However, the audience can take something away from the band – the ability to headbang to some crunchy death metal that satisfies the desire to push the boundaries of aural extremity to as far as they can go.

Also last sighted in London in 2010, headlining the London Deathfest, Sweden's Deranged are a variant to tonight's proceedings. Formed in 1991 in the midst of Sweden's death metal explosion, these horror-praising Swedes broke up briefly in 2008 but returned again in 2009 to continue their fearsome assault on eardrums worldwide. Their death metal is like a hybrid between classic Swedish death metal, with the country's instantly recognisable buzz saw guitar tone, and Cannibal Corpse's latter output, finished with the gargles and pig squeals that are commonplace in brutal death metal. The audience size swells dramatically and many attendees are huddled right in front of the stage to secure the best view as the Swedes hack through each meaty death metal number from throughout their careers.

The stage presence of the four- piece is dynamic with plenty of headbanging on the venue's miniscule stage. However, as the set continues, the crowd thins out noticeably. Although the music is technically proficient and refuses to skimp on the visceral aggression, it lacks a compelling element that could allow for it to become addictive and the set does lag towards the end. Nonetheless, Deranged's lengthy dedication to gore is thoroughly appreciated by those who remain by the show's end and prove they have a place in the underground.

Headliners Defeated Sanity are met with a loud applause as they find their places on the stage. Instrumental number 'Introitus' begins their set, a fantastic showcase of the Germans' technical prowess. Despite the lack of vocals, the crowd are enthralled by the display of talent and begin headbanging to the number. As the song concludes, vocalist Konstantin Lühring joins the rest of his band mates on stage and launch into 'Consumed By Repugnance', with heads banging furiously as ever. Defeated Sanity's technical metal is far from the conventional brutal technical material, with a strong jazz influence and angular riffs like the unorthodox Cryptopsy who are undoubtedly a key influence for the band, alongside a generous helping of slam moments. The varied drumming is a source of constant creativity, marking drummer Lille Gruber as possibly one of the best underground death metal drummers going.

Each of Defeated Sanity's four albums are represented fairly, with a collection of brain-busting brutalities such as 'Lusting for Transcendence', 'The Purging', 'Liquifying Cerebral Hemispheres', 'Salacious Infinity', 'Verses of Deformity' and 'Engulfed in Excrutiation'. The audience reaction matches the band's energy on stage, with one of the most violent London death metal mosh pits erupting for some time, complete with bodies spilling on to the stage at one point. Lühring is cheerful about being back in the capital so soon, voicing his appreciation with some of his friends and thanking the audience for filling the venue on a Sunday night – an impressive feature indeed. Tonight was a superb display of tenacious extremity. Defeated Sanity will always be welcome in London and the death metallers coming out on a winter Sunday night confirm this.

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article by: Elena Francis

published: 16/12/2013 11:18

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