Defiled - Infinite Regress
Season Of Mist
Death Metal
14 songs (35:17)
Release year: 2020
Defiled, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

Japanese old-timers Defiled have been active since 1992 but Infinite Regress is only their sixth full-length, which might suggest a band keen to hone their material and ensure it's at its best if you were unaware of the group! Sure, they take their time, but the Toyko-based foursome produce bursts of blunt, brief death metal that makes them closer to Autopsy than, say, Necrophagist. These galloping blasts a la early Kataklysm have a real caveman simplicity to them that gives Defiled's sledgehammer sound an extra impact, not least because of the way that the band has somehow managed to vary their formula over past albums, from earlier songs that utilised technical bass-twangs to the relatively primitive grunt n'blast of 2016's Towards Inevitable Ruin. First impressions of Infinite Regress put it closer to the latter than earlier albums, not least because a better than expected production nonetheless buries the bass a little to the point where guitars and drums dominate. Yet there's no denying that this album has a technicality of its own, particularly to the guitar riffs which the generally under three-minute songs revolve around, twisting and turning upon themselves to often terrific effect.

Take first song proper (after suitably-titled intro Intro) Divide and Conquer, which blasts along like a simpler and more traditionally death-grinding take on !TOOH!'s deranged formula, complete with a sort of guitar solo made by sliding along the guitar strings, before allowing the drums more of a lead with some nicely diverse battery. And songs seem to take a variation on that theme onwards, from the stop-start gallop of Systematic Decomposition which includes a brief if traditional solo before making way for the similar-sounding but nonetheless different So Blind, in a manner again closer to old-school death-grind like Terrorizer rather than more modern tech or even brutal death metal. That vibe is what ultimately rules Infinite Regress, be it shorter blasters like Masses in Chaos or the mildly longer four-minuter Centuries. The longer pieces are interesting (if you're a chin-stroking sort of death metal fan!) not least for the way the band develops the relatively simple riffing into a kind of grooving heaviness interrupted by drum beatdowns, particularly on the initially slower-paced five minuter Tragedy before kicking up the tempo and developing the song in a deceptively technical manner.

It can't hold up, however; Infinite Regress proves itself repetitive even if you're a fan of the style, with tracks like Invisible War and Ignorant feeling like mere echoes of earlier tracks. Yet there's no doubting how seriously heavy the steamroller rumbling of Slaverobot is, for example, and those with an appreciation for early nineties death metal will find much to like on this Infinite Regression. It would have been good to hear an advancement, say, on the doom-death opening to the title track; yet Defiled apologise to no-one, and make death metal that is spiritually and metaphysically stuck in the 90s, for better or worse. The album has its moments but given the breadth and depth available in the genre it will have limited appeal, not least given how divisive past works from Defiled have been.

Killing Songs :
Divide and Conquer, Tragedy, So Blind
Goat quoted 65 / 100
Other albums by Defiled that we have reviewed:
Defiled - In Crisis reviewed by Charles and quoted 78 / 100
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