Defeated Sanity - The Sanguinary Impetus
Brutal Death Metal
9 songs (33:35)
Release year: 2020
Defeated Sanity, Willowtip
Reviewed by Goat

After 2016's split-personality pair of EPs Dharmata/Disposal of the Dead separated the tech and brutal death halves that make up German pulverisers Defeated Sanity it wasn't easy to predict where the band would go next. Returning to the uniquely intense and pulverising vision as so darkly portrayed on albums like 2013's Passages into Deformity didn't seem likely, yet the band have done it in streamlined form. There have been line-up changes, Defeated Sanity losing long-term guitarist Christian Kühn and bringing back Josh Welshman on vocals, meaning the band operated as a trio here with founder Lille Gruber playing both guitar and drums! It would be a lot for anyone to handle (and producer Colin Marston, Abhorrent Decimation's Dan Thornton and Splattered's Justin Sakogawa are all credited with additional guitars) even before you are reminded of how personal the band must be for Gruber (who started this project with his father, who passed away in 2010).

Of course, that he has such a huge input on the music means that it can reflect his vision better, and accordingly The Sanguinary Impetus is one of the odder Defeated Sanity albums. Although thematically based around various species and their innate violence (from polar bears to venus flytraps) the music itself is the same jazz-infused brutal death metal as before, albeit more abstract and strange than ever. Opener Phytodigestion begins with slow, simple drumbeats, speeding into a blastbeat beneath screams and guitar noise, before launching into almost dementedly brutal guitar noise and vocal grunts - it's virtually free jazz as played by a slam band at points, not least the clearly audible and very impressive bass. Not that drums or guitars are lesser, far from it - the more you listen to Defeated Sanity, the more their obvious instrumental skill becomes apparent, although that doesn't mean the band are any less hostile and listener-unfriendly in terms of sheer death metal impact.

Yet the more you listen, the more it all makes sense. There's an undeniable sense of flow between tracks, which makes pinpointing standout moments that much harder once you realise that you're already onto the next song, and brutal death veterans will especially appreciate how well incorporated the hooks here are, from slam beat-downs to a particular riff or drum hit. Spaces in playing are left frequently for the listener to appreciate a bass noodle or guitar twist, and although this initially adds to the confusion it pays off with experience. Although the average track here is a two-minute blaster, Defeated Sanity are more than capable of drawing it out to four or even six minute pieces and do so extremely well, the twists and turns of Entity Dissolving Entity the first indication on the album as it moves from crushing groove to groove. Yet even said brief blasters are fascinating little constructs, such as Insecta Incendium's savage, jittery attack, almost collapsing into jazzy melodies at points before pulling itself back together - it packs more into those two and a half minutes than other bands manage with twice, three times as much.

With music that paints an aural version of that darkly artistic cover image, it can be hard to tell individual pieces apart even after multiple listens. Yet the overall style of the album endures and remains a gripping experience, like dousing yourself in raw, rotten meat even with the oddly catchy moments of later pieces like Propelled into Sacrilege, almost thrashy passages of riffing providing greater impact for the break- and beatdowns that follow - strangely like a Meshuggah that turned its back on futuristic influences in favour of a more grounded, Suffocation-esque groove. That continues through the building groove and underlying lead guitar of the following Drivelling Putrefaction, far less slamming and almost introspective in an eerie way as the song progressively rambles, switching suddenly to a Kerry King-esque shrieking solo out of nowhere and using it as catalyst for a series of breakdowns. And Dislimbing the Ostracized returns to the album's abstract beginning in a style full of sharp turns and even a jazzy drum build leading to one of the heaviest slam breakdowns on the album. As niche a genre as brutal death is, The Sanguinary Impetus is nonetheless a vital modern release in the genre, revealing more on each listen as it grows on you like a parasite, and is a career highlight for Defeated Sanity. It'd be downright cruel to recommend this to ears as yet unexplored by the grisly fingers of brutal death, but those odd souls who enjoy sonic obliteration will rightly love this.

Killing Songs :
Phytodigestion, Entity Dissolving Entity, Insecta Incendium, Drivelling Putrefaction
Goat quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Defeated Sanity that we have reviewed:
Defeated Sanity - Disposal of the Dead / Dharmata reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Defeated Sanity - Passages Into Deformity reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Defeated Sanity - Chapters Of Repugnance reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Defeated Sanity - Psalms Of The Moribund reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
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