Self released EP on Friday 29 May 2020.
The album opens with “Prelude” (track 1), a short instrumental that could easily be used as the incidental music for a TV game show before an R2-D2-like screech introduces a tribal/industrial vibe.
From “Dark desires” (track 2) onward, you can immediately hear why Deified are going to be labelled with “sounds like Lamb of God”. This is a powerfully heavy song with layers that weave in and out of one another. Hughes’ vocals move from gruff to spoken and back again beneath a sweeping melody and pounding drums. A very promising start.
“Broken matrix” (track 3) is a rattling, runaway train of a song that slows down in the middle—a breather before hurtling down another precipice. There is a maturity in the song writing here that is quite astounding. This is their four release, their third EP.
“Enemies within” (track 4) is one of my favourite tracks on this release. It’s Hughes’ vocals that make the difference for me, flitting between a deep growling bark and an almost Lou Reed-esque recitative. These guys properly get into the groove on this song with bouncing lyrics like “Like a fifty megaton bomb…”
“Intermission” (track 5) opens with another industrial style beat—think Godflesh—that then morphs into an intricate guitar feud and then into another groove over which Hughes spits out his lyrics. This song has depth and again it’s the layers of various instruments weaving around each other that creates the space for this song to breathe.
The introduction to “Blood under the bridge” (track 6) is a little misleading. On first listen, I thought “Ah… we’re now on to the weaker songs hidden in the middle of the EP”. But then… BLAM! Suddenly, Hughes spits out “So… you wanna get away with murder” and takes the song in a completely new direction. I’m hooked.
The opening to “Apotheosis – Rebirth” (track 7) is veritable chugg-fest before it accelerates into the fastest song on the recording, and towards the end the slowest and most lamentful as it draws on Scandinavian black metal influences.
The almost clean arpeggios that open the instrumental “An ode to Armageddon” (track 8) mark the beginning of the end. The track builds. There is tension, there is anticipation, there are layers upon layers until the band are up to speed making space for a glorious guitar solo around two minutes in. Then the blast beats that take the song to conclusion end this near perfect EP beautifully and suddenly.
This band reminds me of Lamb of God, yes, but also God Forbid, Pantera, Lou Reed and a host of other influences—black metal, groove metal, thrash metal, speed metal, rock, classical even. But Deified are not mimics, they take these influences and make them their own. This is an intimate record from a band that clearly wants to prove themselves and they do. Oh, they do!
This EP has everything I love in a metal album. It has breadth, depth, layers, pace. There is an almost progressive approach to songwriting that takes the song where it needs to go rather than following a simple formula. I can’t fault it, to be honest and where I can, my criticisms seem trite and overly picky. Deified deserves to be recognised and go onto great things for this release. I will be playing this for a long time to come.
Review score: 100%