Defiled’s Divination certainly did not click with me instantly. All the weird and sudden shifts in time signature throughout the album, the out of place bass lines that were littered throughout the album all came across as extremely strange to me initially. But having caught them earlier in 2010 (along with GxSxD, which sounded like a Japanese version of Vader and was an instant attraction to me) and being impressed by their stage presence and their professionalism and technicality on stage, I thought that perhaps I had written them off all to quickly.
A return to Divination after that saw me thoroughly enjoying the album with each additional listen. The initial “weirdness” was no more, and in place was respect and awe of the technicality and the uniqueness of the band’s music. Unlike other bands that try so hard to be “technical” and end up coming out with boring albums filled with (ironically) brainless wankery, Defiled is able to marry old school death metal with their brand of technical death metal.
Songs that typically last less than 3 minutes a track ensures that things are constantly kept fresh without getting too repetitive or boring. While Hideko Fujimoto’s gruff vocals are typical of death metal, what he spits out are still decipherable, certainly adding to the enjoyment factor of the album, though attempts at “growl-a-long” prove challenging with the band’s constantly shifting time signature. Hideko also plays with vocal effects such as on the song Through the Killing, adding a special touch to the song.
One thing that stood out on Defiled’s style of music are the prominent basslines present, courtesy of Norihisa Fukuda. Though I mentioned initially that they seemed out of place, after numerous listens they show the ingenuity in the band’s usage of the bass guitar, where instead of solely assuming a rhythmic role, at times it takes the lead spot with sweet bass licks.
There is also a quirky moment in the form of the track Floating Sediment, a bass solo track, but very much unlike the usual bass solos that you may be familiar with – i.e. not shreddy like Metallica’s (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth. I don’t know if (and highly doubt) it is the band’s intention, but somehow it sounds more to me like a retrospective moment than anything – a quiet track to provide listeners with a moment for reflection. This was followed by Eciov Erazzib, yet another weird track featuring backtracking of the vocal track for the title track.
Now with an almost completely new lineup, with Yusuke being the sole member left from the original lineup, we wonder what 2011 brings to us, with the announcement of the release of the long-awaited follow up to Divination, entitled In Crisis. The band certainly reminds listeners that something is brewing in the Japanese extreme metal scene and it is not something to be ignored.
To end this off, the band warns that “If you enjoy ONLY modern “CLEAR” DTM death metal with full-triggering on drums and plug-in emulator (line6) on guitars, unfortunately our new album must be not for you. Don’t waste your money !!” So stay away if you are not ready for a full on aural assault!