Deranged – Deeds of Ruthless Violence
Reviewed: April 2020
Released: 2020, Agonia Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Sometimes you turn on a record and it just grabs you by the guts from the first note. And then sometimes that record proceeds to disembowel you with its bare hands and feast on the exposed gore. That was kind of my experience with Deranged’s latest full length, DEEDS OF RUTHLESS VIOLENCE.
Sure, these Swedes have been toiling in the brutal death metal underbelly for close to 30 years, extoling tomes of death, murder, and general nastiness for all to enjoy. But it wasn’t until 2016’s STRUCK BY A MURDEROUS SEIGE that folks outside of the inner scene started to sit up and take notice. That was due in part to a deal with Agonia Records that most certainly raised the band’s profile, and also in part due to the fact that said album was the most coherent and well crafted/constructed/executed in the Deranged catalog to date. That was until the release of DEEDS OF RUTHLESS VIOLENCE, an album that demonstrates that not only can a record grab you by the guts from the first note, but that sometimes it takes a band 30 years to hit their stride.
So yeah, “Necro-Bulimia Interfering Afterlife” kicks in from the start almost like it’s already mid-song and you’re running to catch up to it. With its hammer on licks and pulsating atonal riffs, it sounds almost like a leftover from Cannibal Corpse’s VILE sessions; it’s an immediately catchy tune that swiftly commands your head to bang. All bets are off from that point forward. You are clearly at the band’s disposal for the next 30 minutes, no matter how hard you struggle or beg for your life.
The album progresses with killing floor like efficiency, deploying a menagerie of riffs, harmonics and blast beats that all swarm together like some kind of sadistic nightmare. Tunes like the hypnotic “Through Stages of Putrefaction” turn up the old school Swedeath charm, while the riffs in “Carried in Pain, Released by Torture” hit your skull like a sonic Gatling gun. The album ends with the almost mid-tempo “I Send You Half the Kidney I Took” amidst a fadeout of gurgling growls and dense rhythms, acting almost as a counterbalance to the way the disc begins. My only beef with DEEDS is that the main riffs and general structure on “Carnal Provision for the Rotten Masses” sounds like they were was cribbed straight from from Morbid Angel’s “Where the Slime Lives”. I know what they say about flattery, but this one sounds a little too close for comfort.
That criticism aside, DEEDS OF RUTHLESS VIOLENCE is a total ripper from start to finish. It’s worth noting that Deranged’s lineup over the years has endured a revolving door of familiar accomplices and one-time participants, and that DEEDS marks the debut of vocalist Johan Bergström with the band. Fingers crossed that the vicious cycle ends here, because this dude is the goods. He’s as guttural as it gets, but has a clarity and character to his voice that really helps to carry the tunes.
There’s a healthy balance of polish and bare knuckles across DEEDS OF RUTHLESS VIOLENCE that should appeal to the broader death metal masses; whether you fancy the likes of Malignancy and Gorgasm or the mainstream menace of Cannibal Corpse and Cattle Decap, Deranged have delivered a set of tunes that everybody can get in the pit with and enjoy.