March 14, 2014 | , | 3.75

Disfigured Dead, Relentless

Disfigured Dead: Relentless

New York’s Disfigured Dead first came onto the death metal radar with 2010’s Visions of Death. That debut was pretty damn good, serving not only as the band’s introduction, but also as a sign of who influenced them musically. Elements of early Death and the repulsiveness of Autopsy shone through bright and violently on that album. With their sophomore effort, the band has taken those influences and succinctly folded them into a sound all their own.

The ten songs to be found on Relentless present a sound that is almost completely unlike the band’s debut. Everything is murkier, heavier, denser and slowed down a good deal comparatively. Album opener, “Punishing Atonement,” is example enough that a good deal has changed in the past three years. The track opens immediately with rabid vocals and a dense wall sound. The overall atmosphere is still raw and abrasive, but slowed down to a churning miasma of rotting flesh and festering, rancid entrails. I love it!

The thickness and fullness of the album is a dramatic and welcome departure from Visions of Death. It gives the songs a swampy presence that counters some of the more technical riffs and tempo shifts — making for quite a dynamic listening experience. “Cauterized” keeps the momentum flowing along as spilled liquids begin to congeal on the band’s instruments. I love the build-up of “God Forgives, I Don’t” as it slowly lurches forward like an avalanche of gore before stepping up the tempo a good bit. The song is vicious and aggressive.

Other songs to be on the look out for include the awesomely brutal yet groove-fueled “Deranged Consecration,” the spastic, off-kilter “Summoning Execution” and the guttural destruction of “Death Disguised, Dream Demise.” Each track delivers a sound that is wholly the bands, but also hints at its influences, as older Suffocation peaks through as does some Autopsy in those moments that the band gets a little loose and unhinged.

All in all, Relentless is a solid outing. It’s definitely a change of pace from the band’s prior material and a direction that brings a more unique and personalized sound. They’ve shunned some of the thrashier moments for those that lean heavily on the brutal side — another change for the better according to my ears. If I were to have one complaint it is that on subsequent listens the album tends to blur along at times, delivering a similar sound from track to track. Other than that, I’d highly recommend this album to any fan of death metal.