Deranged
Plainfield Cemetery

Rhetorically, I imagine I you meet death metal bands in a bar, Origin would try to impress you with clever sleight of hand tricks. Bolt Thrower might lumber over and give you a gruff nod and mumbled brummie greeting. Nile may strike up a deep conversation concerning mummies, pyramids, Isis and such. Deranged however would walk right up to you, pummel you in the face, stomp on your balls and then piss on you – laughing; leaving you choking on the remnants of shattered ivory, and mulling warm blood around your exposed nerve endings in your horridly disfigured mouth. Instant, merciless and savage, that’s is Deranged ‘s style of uncompromising brutal death metal.

Album number five sees new member Calle Faldt enter the ranks joining longtime members Richard Werman (drums) and Johan Axelson (Guitars), and Faldt appears to a have added spark of utter intensity under Deranged’s ass. Last year’s self-titled album was good, but showed signs of stagnation, along with a crisp, shiny clean guitar tone that strayed a little too far from the dirty noise of III and Rated X. However, Plainfield Cemetery sees a welcome return of a far nastier, meatier and disgusting Deranged. This album might be the one to lift them to one of the elite and from the ranks of second tier death metal.

Firstly, the Berno Studio production is huge. The guitars are a deep roaring wall of downtuned hate, and the drums are now much heavier and upfront, with a monstrous bass drum assault that just never ever lets up. The last album had a more subliminal level of gore and hate with oddly named songs like “Flesh Rebel” and “Malebolgia”; this time around Deranged go straight for the jugular in similar necrotic fashion as High on Blood, with far more straightforward titles like “Stab and Hack”, “Beaten Raped and Fuckin’ Left to Die”, and “Mutilate and Dumb You”. And the songs reflect the direct titles. I was also glad to see the omission of the strange sample-laden interludes of the last albums. Stylistically Deranged’s new material sounds a lot like classic Cannibal Corpse, if they were from Europe, but far more down-tuned and less focus on complex riffs and solos. Simple brute force is the order of the day. On a good stereo it might rip your face off. Faldt also appears to helped out with some of the songwriting as the songs now are more focused, longer, and deadly, with some clever guitar work and odd time changes intermingled with the ceaseless attack.

Openers “Beaten Raped and Fuckin’ Left to Die” and “Stab and Hack” get things going with a constant barrage of blastbeats and dizzying hack ‘n’ slash riffs. Despite my normal ambivalence towards endless blasting, Deranged injects such subtle changes within the riffs, be it a psychotic complex high-end flourish, or sudden stop-start change that the songs remain interesting and not repetitive. Plus, Plainfield Cemetery explodes with such fierce energy, it just kinda inhales you into its bile infested lungs and lets you wallow it its slimy filth – you have little choice. A couple of songs stood out for me though, which is rare for a Deranged album; “God is Dead’s” first note would leave you to believe for a split second the at Deranged are about to unleash slow chugging number, but the facade is soon washed away in a sea of face-ripping material. This clever shift occurs a couple of times in the song and when Faldt bellows out “GOD IS DEAD” over a huge riff, it’s beguiling and menacingly clever. “Imbecile Humans/Drag Her out to Die” is as simple and repetitive as it gets with essentially the same pace, but is so goddamned savage and unrelenting, it’s as bombastic and intense a 3 minutes I’ve sat through in a while.

My only teeny gripes are the bass – it’s barely audible – and the whole album really just kind of mushes together into one exhaustive trainwreck of sound, with songs merging into one another. Deranged, while a little to clean, had a couple of real memorable standouts, Plainfield Cemetery’s songs are solid and beat you into submission rather than impress. Lastly “Deathgasm” is such mammoth song that just cries to be a song that ends the album; the last few moments are just written to close the door on 37 minutes on merciless abuse. Instead, they close with the far more frantic “The Deviant Dead”. Minor point but one that stuck with me every time I heard the song.

Overall, a pretty fucking good album from a stalwart band that appear to have finally peaked and are ready for some larger recognition, and they challenge some of the lazy death metal pioneers who seem content to rest on their laurels.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 14th, 2003

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