Nightmarer
Deformity Adrift

The Teeth of the Divine staff is rarely, if ever wrong. For example, when the new Nightmarer album popped up in promos, before I even had the chance to take it and listen, I was told it’s awesome and even better than the first. If you’re not aware, Cacophony of Terror was its own monster, so saying the new one is better is quite a feat. So, will this be the first time the Teeth of the Divine staff would be wrong?

Nope. Let’s jump into it because the band surely wastes no time. It’s clear right from the opening of “Brutalist Imperator” that the band occupies some space in the dissonant death metal sub-genre, but they have something else happening. They walk a line between that, groove, and sometimes even djent. Don’t get confused, though. Periphery or Tesseract this is not. You won’t find any high-pitched cleans here.

What you will find is a death metal band firing on all cylinders with that overwhelming sense of dread in the background, presumably executed by some 8-string guitars. Take away that sense of dread and you’d still have some badass death metal in a track such as “Throe of Illicit Withdrawal.” I can see the part beginning around 1:30 in becoming a pit starter, as there’s a slight buildup to the heavy groove section.

They do slow it down on the next track, which is an interlude, but they do pick it back up immediately with “Suffering Beyond Death.” What’s beginning to stand out to me on this song and album is that what sets them apart from other bands in this style is the production. Frequently enough, bands have a suffocating sound when it comes to this, but on Deformity Adrift, the production allows them to show off their ability to write monster songs, and in my opinion, this is the best one.

“Hammer of Desolation” is another great one. John Collett’s commanding roars, along with the pounding drums, the bass, and the heavy-as-hell guitars may sometimes make you think there are no guitarists, just bassists. Think of Meshuggah beating the absolute shit out of you in a dark alley and I think you’re there.

To close it out is “Obliterated Shine.” That dissonant echo of the drums’ downbeat is sinister. This should be playing when your favorite movie monster comes up from the basement to slay everything in his or her path. It’s almost serpent-like in the way it slithers its way inside your brain. When Paul’s blasts mix with the rest of the rhythm section, it just feels that much heavier.

This is a quick album at only 32 minutes, but it stands alongside my current AOTY pick, EntheosTime Will Take Us All as one of the grooviest of the year, although in a different way. I’m digging it, as evidenced by my previous words. I’m still not sure of its replay value as the year goes on, but I think it’s a must-listen.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
May 25th, 2023

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