January 24, 2011

Music Review: The Defaced - Anomaly

While I may not be steeped in knowledge regarding the Swedish metal scene, my passing association tells me that I like it and I should listen to more. Soilwork, In Flames, Darkane, and other purveyors of the Gothenburg sound just know how to blend the heavy and the melodic in one awesome package. Still, it is a style that is oft-imitated but never quite equaled. That brings us to The Defaced, a band that is comprised of a few Gothenburg heavyweights from Soilwork, Darkane, Terror, and Kayser. You would think that this somewhat super-group could take the style to the next level.

I am going to have to say the answer is no. Now, do not get me wrong, I dig Anomaly, but it is odd that it sounds a good deal like Soilwork with Darkane's vocalist and then tilted heavily to the melodic side. Instead of these guys coming together and trying something different, it is more likely they are copying their collective successes. So, instead of new directions we get more of the same. Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing, just a disappointing thing. Anomaly is an anomaly in that regard.

Something else that struck me while listening is that the production is incredibly crisp and clean, almost as if it had been scrubbed. It lacks a sense of life. Sure, the music sounds great, but at what cost? A good analogy would be those movie posters with pictures of the stars that have been smoothed and airbrushed so much they look like other people, or digital projections (or DVD releases) that have had the film grain wiped out, it just doesn't look right. It is a similar effect with The Defaced, the music is good, but perhaps overproduced.

That sounds like a lot of negativity from me. Believe me, I do not mean it to sound too harsh. I actually dig the album for the most part. Sure, it is not the best example of Swedish melo-death, or of a lively production, but it does have a certain groove to it and these guys know how to deliver. There are some good tunes to be found, like "Blood of Emeralds," "The Perfect Shame," and "The Fundamental Human Neurosis."

Anomaly may be an anomaly, a band of considerable talent. I just think they hit auto-pilot and let the talent take over. Talent will get you a long way, but engage their skill to use the talent and watch out!

In the end, check this out if you like the style and need something new to check out, this is far from bad, I just have my reservations which are likely minor in the long run as I suspect I will give this a decent amount of play.

Mildly Recommended.

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