Under The Blade
Review by Felix on May 1, 2019.
Defleshed do not exist anymore, but they churned out five full-lengths between 1996 and 2005. After a bumpy start with a weak debut, the musicians pulled their socks up and Under the Blade catapulted them on the interesting side of those combos that combined thrash and death metal. The Swedish guys put a lot of energy in their tunes and made some heads burst. Even more than 20 years after its publication, Under the Blade is still worth a listen from time to time.
The album holds the best riffs of the entire career of the formation. The skull-splitting riffing of "Metalbounded" hits the listener like a heavy hammer and the same goes for the merciless rasping of "Entering My Yesterdays". This song knows the word "victims” but has never heard the term "prisoners". Both eruptions rush straight forward, but that's no feature which separates them from the other pieces. The whole material terrorizes the audience with an orgy of high velocity and shredding guitars. Before I am out on my next date with a nice girl, I want to have one of the pills that Defleshed consumed in the recording studio. (But only one, otherwise I fear I mutate into a violent humanimal and have a follow-up meeting at the local police station.) Anyway, the album's level of aggression is amazing. It appears only logical that the cover version of "Curse the Gods" waives the calm intro of the original. By the way, Destruction's early works have obviously been an inspiration for the Swedish ruffians, but Under the Blade is less technically precise. The thrashing fundament has been enriched by some blast beats and the big portion of brutality gives the output a death metal flair every now and again. Maze of Torment, another Swedish thrash / death combo which has broken up, and Defleshed lie close to each other in terms of style.
The constant screaming of the lead vocalist expresses vigor, vileness and hatred. Of course, his approach underlines the ruthless ecstasy of his band mates. Matte Modin tortures the drums and he does it in a merciless way. He was also involved in Dark Funeral, but Defleshed's material is free from black metal influences. Nevertheless, the physical activities of Modin are comparable with those he has contributed to Lord Ahriman's project. Even the songs with a pretty hymnal and almost solemn chorus, for example the title track, are mainly based on a full-speed-ahead-approach. This way of proceeding is supported by the intense and somewhat noisy mix. After the first half of the album, it gets a little bit strenuous to follow the last songs with full concentration, but the furious and fierce sound experience is just too strong to ignore it. Hyper-aggressive tunes such as the strangely titled "Cinderella's Return & Departure" and in particular "Walking the Moons of Mars" with its piercing guitar at the beginning make the day of every dude who loves radical metal sounds.
In short, Under the Blade shows an uncompromising and headstrong trio that did not attach importance to useless things such as variety or technical narcissism. Inter alia the closing cover versions makes clear that Defleshed were more interested in developing the maximum of pressure and the ultimate intensity - and they fulfilled their mission successfully. Or, to say it with the band itself: "Defleshed plays Solid Metal exclusively. No computers or other false tactics were used to fulfil this CD." Good to know.
Rating: 8 out of 10