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Review: Defeated Sanity - The Sanguinary Impetus
Defeated Sanity
The Sanguinary Impetus

Label: Willowtip Records
Year released: 2020
Duration: 33:35
Tracks: 9
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: June 18, 2021
Reviewed by: Micah.Ram
Readers Rating
The Sanguinary Impetus

Rated 4.33/5 (86.67%) (3 Votes)

Germany's Progressive Brutal Death Metal outfit Defeated Sanity released quite a head-turner with 2020's The Sanguinary Impetus. Admittedly, I did not know what to make of the album on my first few listens, putting the album away for a couple of months after two full runs of the album. I do not recall what spark caused me to come back to listen again, but I am certainly thankful I returned. This is remarkable stuff. The fact that I can say that is also a testament to how great this is due to the fact that I don't even like Brutal Death Metal. Let's get into this.

The album starts with a very slow kick and snare alternation which gradually and quickly accelerates to high speed, giving way to sinewy, atonal, chromatic guitar lines that intertwine briefly before being met with a series of rhythmic and metric shifts that seem very unrelated and bumpy in theory but sound quite smooth in actuality. It is quite difficult for me to begin to imagine how someone learns or develops music sensibilities to write music of this nature. However I am almost certain that Jazz and 20th/21st Century Classical Music influences may have come together to form the DNA of this music. The album plays out like a series of rhythmical and gestural moments, all of which are intensely technical and catchy. On an earlier level of familiarity with this record, listeners may most likely latch onto the rhythmical qualities which drive the album, while listeners with more than 20 listens may be diving into the melodic and harmonic content more deeply. There are several layers of content and areas to focus on here.

The sound of The Sanguinary Impetus is much warmer and less blunt than previous efforts from the band, which gave me mixed feelings on the first two listens. It felt as if this insanely heavy album was lacking the punch it needed. Return visits to the album changed my mind, as the warm and slightly fuzzy sound of the album allowed it to shine in a different way, especially with the sense of clarity it grants the work here, which is very helpful for having appreciation for the technical work being done here. While it is clear enough to pick out the technical work, it still retains a rumbly quality, which prevents it from sounding too sterile. One of the best standout features of the production is that it allows the bass to be heard very easily, which is a great thing because bassist Jacob Schmidt did a phenomenal job on this album. Please go and watch his bass playthrough video of the track "Propelled Into Sacrilege" on YouTube and be amazed at what he managed to pull of here. Lille Gruber deserves a very special shoutout here as well, as he played and recorded all the drums and guitars on this album, all of which are masterfully executed with style, technique, and the total unique factor. While I did not particularly care so much about the vocals of Josh Welshman initially, I later developed a great appreciation for his vocal tracking here, as he sounds powerful and genuinely enhances the feel of the music.

I did not talk much about standout tracks as every track is incredible, but I will highlight the closing track for a moment, "Dislimbing the Ostracized," as the way it finishes was my most replayed moment in Metal in 2020. The ending is somewhat like the opposite effect of the opening moment of the first track in that instead of accelerating, this ending gradually gets slower and slower, repeating a melody over a complicated drum groove. I enjoyed "learning" this ending as a listener so much, as it seems more repetitive than it actually is, and the learning process to realize that actually one of the segments that seems repeated is actually different and receives a different rhythmical focus due to the agogic accents that occur through the drumming is rewarding. It slows down to a breakdown pace before it finally settles on the final note and resonates for a few seconds until silence. My description does not do the ending justice, so go listen to it.

Something I want to highlight here is that I mentioned "learning" a few times in this review. As I stated, I did not find this to be such an amazing album on the first two listens. To this day, I have now listened through this album 65 times. The most amazing thing about it is that instead of becoming too familiar, I still find myself "learning" more about the album, and that process keeps it feeling fresh even after all of this time and all the repeat listens. If you are not a patient Metal fan, then sure, this probably won't be for you. But if you like Metal that challenges you, demands multiple listens, and perhaps challenges the way you feel about music in general, I cannot think of a better album to choose than this one. The Sanguinary Impetus is a complete masterpiece of art and compositional genius.

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