Scrambled Defuncts
Souls Despising the God

Early on in my metal listening years, there were plenty of bands that were pushing the envelope in extreme metal. Bands that truly changed what I expected from death metal, black metal and such. Bands like Pan-Thy-Monium, Visceral Evisceration, Ephel Duath,  Summoning, Lykathea Aflame, Septicflesh, Arcturus, Emperor, Bal-Sagoth and such were just some of the bands that made me sit up and truly say “WOW” or “WTF?” Over the last few years though, only a few have garnered such a reaction: Unexpect, Sigh, Fleshgod Apocalpyse and utterly over the top, chaotic bands like Psychofagist, Lye By Mistake and Brazen Bull, that seem to raise the game.

However, here comes the third album from Moscow’s Scrambled Defuncts and it imbues the sort of early/mid 90s brazen experimentation and melding of genres, that was so progressive in metal’s formative years, except it’s now done with a modern, brutal backbone.

On paper, Scrambled Defuncts should be an absolute clusterfuck, and to many it will be. The band take brutal, technical, Unique Leader styled death metal (Aeon, Deeds of Flesh, Severed Savior, Agiel etc) but add what’s basically an orchestra. Not just a snippet here or there, or a sudden orchestral bridge or an interlude akin to Fleshgod Apocalypse or the bands previous efforts, no. It’s pure aural war with brass, piano and string section playing virtually the entire time, while the heavy metal part is blasting and gurgling on with a hard-on. For a limp comparison, imagine a ménage  à trois between Unexpect, Hollenthon and Origin.

It is initially (and will remain so for many) rather overwhelming and disconcerting, coming across like two records; one brutal death metal and one classical/chamber music, playing at the same time. By itself, the brutal aspect is decent – it’s a twisting, tight, technical and well played take on the genre that would be well received by and fans of some of the aforementioned bands. But when they throw in full on Dimmu Borgir/Bal-Sagoth/Emperor styled pomp that’s epic yet discordant and chaotic, it becomes an all together different form of sonic mindfuckery. Throw in songs that range from 5 to 9 minutes and the recipe is there for a truly love it or hate it record.

Personally, I found the album to be one of the more challenging records I’ve listened to over the last few years. I enjoy it immensely, but in small doses: Frankly the difference between, say, the initially, attention throttling opener “Retribution”, “In Authority of Madness”, “Inherited Illusions” and the aptly titled “Slough of Despond” is minimal. While the ‘wow’ factor is always present during the sheer cacophony of chaos, it’s not an easy listen. I would have preferred if Scrambled Defuncts had focused the songwriting on combining the elements into something more memorable in a ‘catchy’ way, not memorable in a “fuck, that ass raping hurt” way. Also, ending the album with two quirky, classical instrumental tracks is a bit too much.

Still, Souls Despising the God is truly unique record that’s, if anything, a talking point as well as a solid technical death metal record… with a huge helping of bizarre, classical garnish.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 1st, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: noe,lvis txdm

    fuck i keep tellin people about visceral evisceration, no one listens to me!


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    need to hear this


  3. Commented by: vortex

    The heavy stuff in the background sounds amazing! I say background because it’s completely drowned out by the chamber music. It’s a good idea but the chamber music is far too loud in the mix. I’d buy this if they had a metal only version.


  4. Commented by: Chris

    Wow, this is pretty rad. Brutal/tech death usually bores me to tears, but this is an interesting take on the genre. Kudos for actually hiring a string quartet instead of just using synths for everything.


  5. Commented by: Jodi

    Erik, I like how your reviews generally reference loads of other bands I need to check out


  6. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Jodi-Is that good or bad? Vortex – you might check out thier previous albums and I THINK the classical stuff wasnt overlapping, but used between songs, which are still solid tech/brutal dm


  7. Commented by: seaofcartilage

    I don’t like the keyboards.


  8. Commented by: Mark

    I know this really isn’t the same genre, but Abysmal Torments last cd Omnicide hasn’t left my player for some time now…… What A Beast!!!! everyone should check that out if ya haven’t


  9. Commented by: Blake Solomon

    Mark – I second “Omnicide”. Brutal Death done right. Has gone pretty much under the radar as far as I can tell.

    Erik – Thank you from the bottom of my black heart for all of your recommedations throughout the years (from DigitalMetal to Metal Review). I’ve probably purchased upwards of at least 100 (or more) albums due to your reviews. That’s no sh*t. Keep em’ coming!

    P.S.-Remember Flight of the Jesus Dog? Conglomeratorz?


  10. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    I remember Flight of the Jesus Dog- still give that cd an occasional spin – and Happy Face- same sound. Thanks for the kind words and reading the places I write.


  11. Commented by: Jodi

    “Jodi-Is that good or bad?”

    It’s good…bad for me, because I’m behind, but I’m glad for the recommendations


  12. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    For those have been asking me for similar bands- i stumbled across this russian band: deathcore/tech death with orchestral elements

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpICAoulfp0


  13. Commented by: Clauricaune

    The orchestra is a layer above the death metal most of the time. I like it, it’s very somber and chaotic, but makes things very confusing – I can’t really focus neither on the metal nor the orchestra, and I guess that isn’t the point, but still it’s a fucking hard listen. It’s pretty interesting and I kinda enjoy it at times, but all in all I wish this had a more traditional structure and a harmonic blending of all the elements.


  14. Commented by: Desperado

    Good review man. I love their last album but this one just doesn’t suit my tastes. Its a shame really that most of these chaotic albums didn’t come out five years ago or more cause that was when I was really into the challenging stuff.


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