Even before hearing any material from Disposal of the Dead/Dharmata, fans of Germany’s finest brutal death metal outfit, Defeated Sanity, were certainly left with a lot of intrigue at the idea of the band essentially doing a split with itself. It seemed like such an interesting way to explore different approaches to the band’s trademark sound while still maintaining their core identity that’s made albums like Passages Into Deformity and Psalms of the Moribound some of the genre’s best modern examples of unbridled savagery. Disposal/Dharmata not only contains some of the band’s most inspired material to date, they’ve found a way to explore plenty of new musical ideas and exciting ways to break new ground while still undeniably giving it up to classic 90s death metal. Prepare to be bludgeoned beyond belief in the album’s opening EP, and then swept away into some of the most chaotic and jaw-dropping tech death this side of Tampa circa 1993.
Disposal of the Dead is a constant barrage of unrelenting brutal death metal. There’s much less emphasis on the time-shifting insanity fans may have expected from Passages Into Deformity this time around, and instead you’re left with a twisted amalgamation of trash-can snares, caveman chugs galore, and a bass tone that sounds like it’s being whipped against a brick wall. Sure, there’s a few moments of lightspeed shredding, but Disposal of the Dead’s mission objective is to be as unwaveringly pummeling as possible (something it unquestionably succeeds at doing). For fans of the band’s earlier and more primitive material, this will most likely be one of your new favorite pieces of the band’s entire catalog. Anyone who longs for the youthful insanity of Cryptopsy’s first two records can expect a deluge of chunky grooves, breakneck blast beats, and that muddy-yet-satisfying guitar tone that most brutal death metal bands can never seem to get right.
Dharmata is where this truly start to get insane. While Defeated Sanity are certainly not strangers to including elements of progressive metal into their repertoire, this second EP is by far the band’s most brain-warping and daring material in ages (and possibly ever). Switching both production and vocal styles for this batch of five tracks, Dharmata does an excellent job of paying homage to underground Floridian demigods Cynic and Atheist while pushing the limits of technicality even further. The band’s trademark grunts have been replaced with a swampy and throaty shout that’d be right at home on some old Cynic demos or even Obituary. Even at such a short length, Dharmata manages to pack in just as many ideas as most band’s full length releases.
Much like Disposal of the Dead, Dharmata doesn’t really offer a single second for the listener to feel at ease. But instead of treating their music as a means to aurally crush the listener, Dharmata is a much more multi-faceted, cerebral and unpredictable listening experience. With so many ideas being packed into such a brief space, it’s difficult to ever settle into much of a groove, save for a few moments of vintage death/thrash hybrid riffs that’d make Chuck Schuldiner proud. Most of the time though, expect to hear Defeated Sanity’s most unpredictable and musically demanding songs by far. It’s difficult to say whether Lille Gruber’s drumming, Jacob Schmidt’s bass performance, or Christian Kuhn’s incredible guitar work takes the cake here, but rest assured that this is some of the most dizzying tech death you’ll hear in 2016. If you’ve been missing that metronomeless jazz fusion/Latin influence in your technical death metal, then this is also just what you’ve been looking for.
Disposal of the Dead/Dharmata has completely reinvigorated Defeated Sanity’s sound and shows that the band hasn’t lost any of heir primal edge but are still capable of pushing the limits of their musical capabilities. Those looking to scratch their heads over complex song arrangements and intricate musicianship even after a dozen listens don’t need to look any further than this, and the same can be said for those just looking for a few insane slams to headbang to while throwing back a few beers. It’s nice to see that a band can successfully do a split with themselves and yield such interesting and equally entertaining results. Let’s hope that many other death metal bands out there follow suit and start finding new ways to experiment within the realm of their long-standing influences. Plus, it’s about time someone else besides Atheist started putting woodblocks back into their death metal!