Admittedly, I get drawn to high-minded concept, philosophical lyrics or cerebral, progressive elements that stretch the limits of the genres in metal all the time. I love an album that is evocative, that makes me think about the world around me in new ways. Equally as much, I love an album that’s ignorantly heavy and chock full of crushing, guttural brutality with just a hint of tasty experimentation, and sometimes it’s exactly what I need. Thankfully, there’s Germany’s tech/brutal death metal veterans Defeated Sanity and their sixth installment The Sanguinary Impetus to smash my brain into a pulp.
Defeated Sanity was formed in 1994, originally by father and son duo Wolfgang Teske and Lille Gruber. Unfortunately plagued with lineup changes throughout their history, Gruber is the only original member left, although bassist Jacob Schmidt has been a mainstay for fifteen years. The band is currently between guitarists right now, but that didn’t stop them from churning The Sanguinary Impetus out. Gruber handled both drum and guitar duties, and he got a little help from the band’s touring guitarists Justin Sakogawa and Dan Thornton, as well as Colin Marston, who also mixed and mastered the album. Despite the unconventional approach to tracking, this album sees the band strive to get back to what they see as their classic sound. “With The Sanguinary Impetus we have created our most complex album to date. We had strayed pretty far from our style musically with Disposal of the Dead/Dharmata and felt a strong urge to pick up where we left off with Passages Into Deformity and expand on the trademark DS sound,” says Gruber. While there are still touches of flair thrown in, most of this album is pretty straight-down-the-middle brutal death metal, with plenty of slams, chugs and growls that shake the earth. The drums still retain a little bit of jazzy flair in spots, the bass flows and weaves in and out of the odd meter shifts, but this is still very much a brutal death metal album. In fact, I think it’s actually a pretty good spot for someone to jump into if you’re not into more progressive elements, because it’s heavy enough that all the complexity seems easier to digest. Not that I don’t enjoy my death metal with complexity in it. However, this is a stupidly, obnoxiously, egregiously heavy album.
The Sanguinary Impetus can come off as a little one-dimensional, but then again so can all brutal death metal. Most of the songs on the album follow a pretty typical format, but if you like that format then this is going to leave you very satisfied. Tracks like “Imposed Corporeal Habitation” and “Entity Dissolving Entity” blaze their way through rapid-fire guitars and blistering drums, with vocalist Josh Welshman’s bowel-churning vocals machinegunning in an almost inhuman register, while “Insecta Incendium” and “Drivelling Putrefaction” are a little groovier and lean heavier into the riff than the technicality. As usual, the facet that stands out the most to me is Schmidt’s bass and how prominent it is. I find myself really inspired by the way that he backs up the guitar by complimenting it instead of just copying the riff. There’s a lot of times where he zags when everyone else is zigging, but it always ends up working. Overall, the technical wizardry here is very satisfying, and it’s enough to keep the songs interesting and varied enough so that it’s not a slog to listen to. It also helps that the songs themselves are pretty short and to the point. Nothing’s worse than a brutal death album that overstays its welcome, but The Sanguinary Impetus gets in and out in a perfect amount of time.
I’ve been taking a lot of solace in albums that can pulverize me lately. We talked a little bit about it as a group on the most recent podcast, but sometimes you want to listen to an album that allows you to feel a lot at once and work through complicated emotions and sometimes you want an album that just beats you numb. That’s what I appreciate about The Sanguinary Impetus. It whips, it bangs, it slams, it grooves and it tickles your brain just enough, but more importantly it gets in and out with the subtlety of a professional demolition crew. I’ve been listening to a lot of evocative albums lately. I think it’s time to listen to something that turns me into a drooling Neanderthal for a bit.