Prostitute Disfigurement – Descendants Of Depravity Review

originally written by Chris McDonald

Now here’s a band that’s been trending upward. While Prostitute Disfigurement’s early albums were fairly typical over-the-top gore-grind efforts, 2005’s Left In Grisly Fashion was something of a revelation for this Dutch outfit, going from aimless chugging and programmed drumming to real, face-ripping death metal. Some of Prostitute’s peers (Aborted and Exhumed being notable examples) have attempted a similar kind of union of brutal death with more melodic, traditional elements (and rather poorly, in my opinion), but this band succeeds where those others fail in a multitude of areas; most importantly, the ever-challenging balancing act between extreme intensity and true listenability.

And this is listenable, my friends. I mean, it’s actually enjoyable to listen to. That’s something that just can’t be said for a lot of underground death metal bands, particularly Prostitute’s companions in the more brutal end of the DM spectrum. Don’t get me wrong, Descendants of Depravity is a brutal album in every sense of the word. But what I really like about this album is that when I put it on, I’m not thinking “Wow, I’ve never heard a vocalist gurgle in that low a register,” or, “Damn, I’ve never heard anyone play blastbeats that fast.” I’m thinking, “I’m actually enjoying the music that I’m hearing.” And in a style of metal where pushing boundaries of extremity is often placed above everything else, that’s saying something.

There’s a lot going right on this album, and like all great music, it starts with the way it sounds. The production here is just a hair shy of completely flawless (and would have been so with a more audible bass guitar); extremely clean and punchy without being glossy, the mix highlights every nook and cranny of the outfit’s bludgeoning assault without resorting to ticky drums and synthetic sounding guitars. The drum sound, while triggered to hell, is impeccable, sounding perfectly organic while still offering the unmatched clarity that triggers provide. Between this and albums like Mithras’s latest Behind The Shadow Lie Madness, perhaps us metalheads can finally look forward to the end of ticky bass drums and Latin-sounding snares forever. The guitars are just as sonically punishing, and once you hear the clarity and heft in songs like “Killing For Company” it makes you realize just how poorly produced a lot of death metal is these days.

The band is just as professional in their songwriting (and I never thought I’d be describing a band called Prostitute Disfigurement as professional). With its great sound, razor-sharp playing, and variety of different tempos and riff structures, Descendants of Depravity is a textbook example of well-written, modern death metal by a band who put genuine effort into their craft. Featuring a lot more tremolo riffs and one-footed blastbeats than chugging grooves (as one might expect in a more gore-oriented death metal band), much of the material on Descendants would almost feel more like straight-up grind if it wasn’t for the incredibly tight musicianship (spearheaded by the superb drumming of Michiel van der Plicht) and limited, yet well developed, melodic sense that runs through the record. Truthfully, nothing you’ll hear on this record is extremely original, but, like all good heavy metal bands, Prostitute Disfigurement are able to overcome the creative limitations of their style with good ol’ fashioned execution, with only subtle hints at true innovation.

In fact, I have no problem saying that the guys in this outfit are talented as balls as songwriters, in that every song on this release is both exciting on its own and as part of a larger whole. While this band is as good as anyone at fashioning and conveying sheer brutality, it’s their ability to play to different aspects of the listener’s ear and keep them on their toes that makes this such a damn good album. In particular, Prostitute Disfigurement has quite an ability at contrasting their merciless blasting with catchier, more melodic parts to make each side of the band’s sound that much more appealing. Take, for instance, “Storm of the Fiend,” which begins with a truly brutish and chaotic barrage before sliding seamlessly into an amazing solo and extremely catchy, melodic backing riff. Or “Torn In Bloated Form,” which introduces the album in explosive fashion with a lightning fast tremolo riff/blasting segment, only to transition smoothly into a headbanging groove and infectious chorus that is revisited in different forms throughout the track. It also works greatly to the band’s advantage that most of the riff patterns are kept fairly digestable by modern DM standards; there are only a few segments that are written in odd time signatures, and just about every riff is something that can be hummed along in one’s head well after listening is over. While some may demand more “technical” and “complex” arrangements, what’s the fucking point when the songs sound this good already? And goddamit if this album doesn’t have some of the most proficiently excellent guitar solos I’ve heard this year. All this, friends, is called good songwriting.

The entertaining and humorous bellows of vocalist Niels Adams are truly the icing on the cake and add an element of actual personality (however exaggerated) that is seriously lacking in a lot of brutal death. Bottom line-this is great, modern extreme metal. Nothing more, nothing less. Even for grumpy, old-school purists like myself, the quality of these nine songs can’t be denied by any fans of this kind of music, or the sheer fun it is to listen to them. It’s a true shame Descendants Of Depravity will be this young and promising outfit’s last album (the band apparently split up recently), and it makes it all the more fortunate that these guys were able to progress this far before caving. Definitely Top Ten of ’08 material.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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