Featuring members of Earth and Pillars and Cryptic Shift, Defacement contains 41 minutes of material, but only four of the eight tracks are actual songs. The remaining four are intro/interludes that I was expecting to dismiss as pointless as most of their ilk are, but I was (un)pleasantly surprised to find that these tracks are each short slices of sickly ambiance that are worth the time they take up.
The four main cavernous songs seem to absorb all light and spill out relentless waves of malignant negativity into the universe in its place. This is not music for the casual listener to put on for entertainment; this is something you conjure into existence when you want the night to get blacker and the nightmares to become tangible.
The band suck the listener into a maelstrom of dissonant technicality, delivered via pitch black violence and grim atmospherics. The music on this album walks a balance between ugly brutality and harrowing atmosphere. The ability to do both concurrently is a real talent, and the album benefits from this greatly. Raw blackened death metal and corrupted malevolent atmosphere are woven together with consummate skill, allowing tracks like the lethal Disavowed to be simultaneously harshly pulverising and thick with otherworldly mood. Occasionally the aggression and intensity drop, and the full atmospheric might is unleashed on the listener – halfway through Disenchanted is a great example of this, with eerie music having the backing of terrifying sounds.
This is music that’s mercilessly uncompromising. Defacement have set out to create something dark, nasty, and repulsive, and in this they have succeeded. If you’re a fan of the hideous darkness that exists at the bottom of the underworld, then make some time for Defacement.