ALBUM OF THE DAY
Defiled, “Infinite Regress”
By Andy O’Connor · January 24, 2020 Merch for this release:
Compact Disc (CD), T-Shirt/Apparel, Vinyl LP

Grindcore is a recurring influence in Japan’s more notable death metal bands, like Mortalized, Swarrrm, and the criminally slept-on Hellchild. The aptly-named Defiled, from Tokyo, follow this tradition as well, hammering out lean-yet-hyper-technical riffs with workmanlike ease. On their excellent new album Infinite, guitarists Yusuke Sumita (Defiled’s sole original member) and Shinichiro Hamada strip what little excesses remain from blocky Bolt Thrower riffs, transplanting a gruesome, grind-inspired spine for optimal sharpness—a Frankensteined LP that easily amounts to a career best.

Generally speaking, Defiled thrive in close quarters; their strums and blasts are wound so tightly they exude an agoraphobic discipline. Every so often, though, they veer slightly off course, and those deviations are what make Infinite so enjoyable. Several songs smack of Swedish death metal; take the frantic, tapped-out grooves on “Tragedy,” which balance hulking mass with subtle melodies; or the heavy-hanging title track, as cold and suffocating as a Scandinavian plague wind. This tense atmosphere assumes more sinister undertones on “Slaverobot,” where the band’s lurching blasts fall prey to ominous guitar swells that creep up, slowly and incessantly, from the deep end of the mix.

Infinite isn’t that sporadic or scatterbrained as a listening experience, but the band’s tendency to change things upright, as a stretch to kick in cruise control nears, makes solid footing a practical impossibility, especially on songs like “Ignorant” and “Legacy.” That’s just how Defiled do death metal, and all the better for it. Amid a hellscape typically associated with endless, drawn-out torment, it’s nice to stalk through a strange series of chambers that carries out its punishments (which is to say, its rewards) on its own terms.

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