Sticking to the theme of using the plural form of a noun to begin the title of their albums, Defeated Sanity released Passages Into Deformity. The band themselves stated that it has a bit more of an old school feel to it, and I do agree even if it is only a slight one. The chunky guitar tone and lighter vocals all hark back to those old days in essence, but feel distinctly modern. The result is something that I find tough to enjoy in its entirety.
Don't get me wrong, there are many great moments on Passages Into Deformity. It's just not what I was expecting. I have to get this off my chest first though: "Initiation" isn't just a worthless ambient or sample intro track! This is such a rarity that I have to give the album points just for including actual music in the poorly titled opener. "Initiation" gives way to "Naraka," which is a solid bass heavy track that lays down solid grooves to remind you what Defeated Sanity is all about before bludgeoning you with its conclusion.
Passages Into Deformity follows the conventions we all know and love Defeated Sanity for. Unlike previous releases though, I find myself zoning out during particular tracks. I don't know if its the oddly organic guitar tone (one I'm admittedly not used to hearing coming from this band), or just that the off-time rhythms haven't stuck with me this time around. "Verblendung," "Lusting For Transcendence." and the hammerblasts of the semi-title track "Verses Of Deformity" blow right by without leaving even the slightest scratch upon my memory.
There's still a bit of memorable fun to be had with Passages. "The Purging" is a highlight with tons of blasting grooves and catchy vocal rhythms. There's even a few pit riffs and d-beats thrown in as well as some interesting phaseshifter effects. "Perspectives" could probably have been shortened as it's quite long for a Defeated Sanity track, and the length aside, the track is still a standout for them. There are a few slower moments and a bunch of frenzied polyrhythms that make it interesting throughout. "Frenzy" (hindsight pun) is a blastfest that leads to another drum showcase and solo in "Martyrium." All of them are tracks that I feel will grow on me with time, but even on first impression they're pretty damn good.
The staunch focus on rhythm is one of the reasons I've always loved listening to Defeated Sanity. The problem with this release in comparison to their previous ones is that it occasionally gets bogged down by that focus, and is less memorable because of it. Since this is the main issue I have with Passages Into Deformity, I think a few more listens might make it the grower I wasn't expecting from Defeated sanity.
7.25 out of 10
4. Lusting For Transcendence
5. The Purging
6. Verses Of Deformity