Friday, December 20, 2013

Deeds of Flesh: "Portals to Canaan"

At this stage of the game, Deeds of Flesh has accumulated enough musical capital to be considered an institution of intense/heavy/technical death metal, and not just a good band within the genre. For instance, look up reviews by people who know and you will find a general consensus that Deeds of Flesh is right up there with Suffocation, Decrepit Birth, Defeated Sanity, Origin and all the other main names of the style. Actually, Deeds of Flesh is an older name than most of those bands, with the big exception of Suffocation, of course.
Their first EP is from 1995 and it was called “Gradually Melted.” That was followed by their debut “Trading Pieces” in 1996. Well, the 90s was a long time ago, and much has changed, including in the membership of Deeds of Flesh. However, with the passing of time, their solid reputation has grown; and in 2013 the band has an album called “Portals to Canaan,” which follows 2008’s “Of What’s to Come.”
“Portals to Canaan” presents several matters that might surprise the listener. For instance, would you believe that “brutal/technical” blasting death metal accommodates large shares of guitar melody? That’s exactly what this album demonstrates in its 40 minutes of music (including a Gorguts cover).
Unfortunately, it would appear that some, including those that enjoy the style, have painted Deeds of Flesh into a corner when describing the sound. Really, that’s too bad. Deeds of Flesh may be “brutal” or “technical” music, but there is much more here than nonstop blasting, zombie woof-woof.
I would say that you do not need to be a math genius to understand Deeds of Flesh; the songs have enough guitar melody that it is quite easy to approach the compositions in that manner, as a gateway to the complexity. Still demanding of the listener, but it helps that Dees of Flesh has incorporated components that liven up the monolith of death metal.
I would submit that “Portals to Canaan” is indeed a strong album. If you like “brutal/technical” but you have high standards, you demand great guitar work and attention to songwriting, then Deeds of Flesh is worth your time. The album can appear abstruse and cold, but once you listen a few times, that notion is easily dispelled.
The only thing that band is probably too conservative on is the vocals. The growling is a bit too restricted, and could stand to be looser and rage in wilder, unhinged ways. All in all, the album should be checked out by listeners into blasting/technical death metal because the quality is high on this album.

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