The year is 1995. Cannibal Corpse already released The Bleeding, arguably their best album, at least if you argue with me. Though if you ask my ex wife, arguing with me isn’t an activity to be taken lightly. Cock and Ball Torture weren’t a band yet, though cock and ball torture itself was already a thing. Just ask my ex wife why she’s my ex wife. While songs like “Meat Hook Sodomy,” “Entrails Ripped from a Virgin’s Cunt” and “Stripped, Raped and Strangled,” Cannibal opened the gates for the pornogrind bukakke blast to come (sp) in the mid 1990s, they were and are a death metal band. Granted, Germany’s Gut was wallowing in depraved and murksome waters for a few years, but they always had more in common with a band like the Meat Shits dashed with a touch of Macabre than anything remotely malevolent. It was with Deranged‘s debut, 1995’s Rated X, that the menace Cannibal Corpse lost found a new, grindier and even more perverse host. Deranged set a benchmark for brutality that may have been met since, but has seldom been surpassed. Is it fair to hold a band up to a standard set by one of their on early works, penned at a time when the world was an entirely different place?
Fuck yes, it is. All is fair in grind and gore.”The Frail Illusion of Osteology” opens Deranged‘s 9th full length album, Struck By A Murderous Siege, in fine fashion with a solid sluggish riff that lasts all of fifteen seconds before sliding into half a minute of filler mediocrity before some pinch harmonics pepper in some flavor. Right out of the gate, vocalist Anders Johansson sounds eerily like the dearly departed Jeff Reimer (Morpheus Descends, Decomposed) circa 1992, which is as effective as a death metal vocalist can get. It’s not until the two minute mark that the maniacs in Deranged loosen their choke hold enough to let things breathe a bit with a melodic breakdown that things really get uncomfortable. Drummer and sole original member Rikard Wermé creatively matches the double bass with a blast beat under this creepy, funereal passage. The suffocatingly busy, overbearing drum part sucks the air out of the song like the chain the knife-wielding maniac on the cover would as he garroted his next victim. “Hello From the Gutters” follows and isn’t an ESL Overkill cover, but rather one of the slowest and most effective songs on the album. Re-recorded from 2013’s Morgue Orgy EP, it barely accelerates beyond a mid-paced lurch save for what I would consider the bridge if we were assigning typical song structures to grindcore.
“Reverent Decomposition” is another stand out and is definitely their “Enter Sandman” except it doesn’t blow dog. The chorus is bubonicaly infectious, very reminiscent of later-day Carcass and Macabre in its sing-song feel, and countered by frenetic riffing that most closely reaches Rated X levels. “Shivers Down Your Broken Spine” is slow and eerie with an open verse rather than the throttling much of the album attempts. The riff that kicks off about around 2:46 is a lift from “Where The Slime Live” that’s so direct, either it’s an intentional homage or someone in Sweden is smoking way too much wacky weed and forgot it’s already in one of the best known death metal songs. Ditties like “Cold Icy Hands,” (despite featuring one of my favorite riffs here) and “Toy Box Torture Chamber” sound too much like later-day Cannibal Corpse. The album’s sound is very clean and thick and without a doubt, the best production of any Deranged release thus far, but that’s not to say it works the best. I vastly preferred the more cavernous live sound that made it seem as if you were right there to witness the carnage employed through 1998’s High On Blood. The fear is a little more palatable when, like in When A Stranger Calls, the killer is in the house.
As veteran bands such as Death Angel, Mercyless and Brutality have proven with recent output, Ye Olde Fucker Guard can still deliver the goods, but in this case, Deranged, despite having a few deadly daggers in this arsenal, fall short of their legacy in mine crusty old ears. I want something to top Rated X, and while that may not be possible, I’d rather they try and fail than tread derivative grounds. While Embalmber managed to up the filth flarn filth with Emanations From The Crypt this year, Deranged released a solid death metal album that is remarkable when really raging, but unfortunately never reaches the depravity of their earlier discography.
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Agonia Records
Websites: agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/album/struck-by-a-murderous-siege | facebook.com/derangedband
Releases Worldwide: October 28th, 2016