Reviewed: April 2022
Released: 2022, ViciSolum Productions
Reviewer: Kat Knite
2019 marked twenty years since members from Darkane, Soilwork and other local acts joined forces in Helsingborg, Sweden and formed what would become an enveloping tornado of sound – The Defaced. 2019 was also the year Jens Broman (vocals) received a call from Mattias Svensson (guitar) which would initiate the creation of The Defaced‘s first brand new album in 16 years – Charlatans. In the several years following the release of Anomaly in 2006, the band began to disintegrate and was put on pause in 2008. Broman continued his work in Darkane for another two years before his departure there as well. Since then, he hadn’t been as active on the scene, but after hearing the songs Svensson had written, he immediately took to them and the guys began a slow process of bringing their fans more much awaited material. Joined again by Klas Ideberg (guitars) and new drummer Bob Ruben, the music flowed as naturally as in years past, and The Defaced were officially back.
Charlatans brings a new era to the melodic power brought forth by the group in a beastly concoction of intricate rhythmic work, seamless production, progressive arrangements and astonishing mood building. A sense of spirituality is invoked through the sounds of the instruments, and whatever that spirituality may mean to you, it is a mystical feeling that moves within you as the notes are played. Just like the depiction on the album cover, these songs are a tornado in a desert that will sweep you through the air in beautiful turmoil. Opening track ‘Monochromatic Void’ is anything but dull as the title would suggest, immediately engulfing the listener in intensity, progressing through thrashy riffs to a seriously sick breakdown, the song well-rounded with vocal harmonies and an envy-inducing skilled guitar solo. ‘Bleeding Ore’ keeps the momentum going like blood through the veins. Satisfying and full of sound, this one makes my body move ritualistically as the past and present come together.
The band doesn’t just throw sections together – woven into melodic passages and rhythmic switch-ups, one thing can be felt for certain: purpose. A perfect representation of this talent and skill can be heard in ‘Celestial Display’. While it undoubtedly kicked me in the face straight off the bat, there was space to build. The layering of each instrument, the quieter, more introverted pathways into a spacey and bluesy playground, the guitar lead which is given room to soar… incredible. Songs like ‘Son of the Sun’ and ‘Enter the Stage’ play with chromaticism and harmonic minors, the former almost insidious and drug-like, elements of vintage doom and grunge woven into a modern vibe. The latter plays as if in a grand and dark arena, echoing generously through the listeners blown minds, with breakdowns as dope as always.
Do NOT hesitate to get your copy of The Defaced‘s impressive comeback, Charlatans, HERE. Hope to see you at a live show some day, readers.
All instruments were recorded in Helsingborg at the Mansarda studios, produced by Klas and Mattias. Vocals were recorded and produced by Jens and Björn Strid at Studio Björngrottan, in Tyreså Autumn 2020. Mixing and mastering by Lawrence Mackory, At Obey Mastering, in Uppsala. December 2020.