There are two verges of brutal death metal. One, which marks your boring & staple supply of blast beats & guttural vocals. Other where there are bands like Deeds Of Flesh, which just get better as they age. Even after being 20 years in the scene and seven full-length releases under their belt, they refuse to fizzle out. And after 5 years of lying low, Deeds of Flesh are out yet again with Portals To Canaan, which will pummel your aural senses mercilessly with no hint of slowing down until it’s over.
For the lesser known, Deeds Of Flesh are a four-piece brutal death metal band formed in 1993 in California. They founded their own record label Unique Leader Records after releasing two albums on different labels. Unique Leader Records in now home to some of the greatest death metal bands of recent times.
Portals To Canaan opens up with “Amidst The Ruins” which is pretty straightforward br00tal death metal track with loads of going on from the word go. Complex riffs, intricate drum parts, blistering solos, banshee-esque vocals and thundering bass: All checked. It rightfully shows where Deeds Of Flesh comes from and what they ought to achieve with this new album. This continues in fairly similar fashion with “Entranced In Decades Of Psychedelic Sleep” and “Rise Of The Virvum Juggernaut” which in spite of featuring some sick riffs and growls also includes some electronic/movie samples in between and in the end, which gives the whole atmosphere a pretty eerie feel. Though I’m not a huge fan of using samples in the music, I like it pure and organic, I need to say this works pretty well for them. “Celestial Serpents” starts with 1:25 minute long intro of only sampled sounds and then transcends into a pretty groovy death metal epic, which is a nice touch. “Caelum Hirundines Terra / The Sky Swallows The Earth” is the shortest track on the album which is again nothing but sampled electronic sounds and serves as intermission to the whole album. The album picks pace again with “Xeno-Virus” which features some of my favorite moments on this album and might just be my favorite song off the whole Portals To Cannan. “Hollow Human Husks” and “Portals To Canaan” again show their infatuation with samples and movie dialogues, and coupled with some sick playing both of these tracks sound beyond brutal. The record ends with “Orphans Of Sickness” which is a very solid ending to a very solid offering. It captures everyone doing what they do best, and with the precision of a machine which is pretty damn amazing to listen to.
Clocking a mere 43 minutes, Portals To Canaan is a truly nerve-wracking experience and is like a mind workout even for the most seasoned listeners of this genre of music. The machine precision of instruments combined with electronic samples here and there, projects a very sci-fi aura in listeners mind. The production side of this album is great with a clean sound where you can actually make out every instrument and what is being played. Its very refreshing to hear a good mix where one can actually make out even bass parts clearly. Portals To Canaan marks the end of a 5-year drought from Deeds Of Flesh camp and it also features an altered lineup, namely Ivan Munguia on bass and Craig Peters on lead guitar, joining long-time guitarist/vocalist Eric Lindmark and drummer Mike Hamilton. Yes a casual listener can say on first listen that the whole album sounds repetitive, but give Portals To Canaan a few listens (which it rightfully deserves) and it will hypnotize your mind with its sheer brutality and will leave you wanting for more.
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