Originally written by Chris Redar
From Condemned’s metal archives page:
Not to be confused with:
Condemned from Houston, Texas
Condemned from Seattle, Washington
Condemned from New Jersey
A cursory search of the band also reveals acts of the same name from Canada, Columbia, Denmark, Japan, Sweden, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Greece. So it’s IRONIC that the band is on UNIQUE LEADER, you see.
If you don’t see, it’s because the name is not, in fact, unique. A lot of bands are called this. That’s why the quip from earlier is funny.
What ISN’T funny is how goddamn brutal His Divine Shadow is. This is the kind of brutality that shirks the very notion of technicality in favor of non-stop pummeling. The brutal drumming and brutally low vocals are accompanied by a just-present brutal string section, which exists only to amplify the brutality.
What’s to pique the interest of the connoisseur of brutality, then? Certainly one has heard every variation of brutal (slamming brutality, overwhelming brutality, technical brutality, animalities). It’s in the structure of His Divine Shadow. Not the songwriting structure, mind you. There’s really only one way to structure a brutal death metal song, and that’s brutally. The pacing of the album sees many brutal peaks and brutal valleys, keeping the brutality from blending together into a bland brutal mud puddle.
Condemned knows when to slow things down just a brutal notch as well. So many brutal bands don’t explore the seven colors of the brutal rainbow, only focusing on how brutal red is up at the top. These San Diego purveyors of brutality aren’t afraid of the mellow brutal that an indigo or a blue might provide, and they deliver at least five of the seven brutals, especially in the brutal transitions present in “Nefarious Sanguine Decree,” a brutal standout track midway through this brutal album.
This begs the question: just how much brutality is too much brutality? It’s not a question Condemned answer. His Divine (brutal) Shadow is around a half-hour, barely enough time to contemplate the nature of brutality, much less give in to the brutal existential dread of tiring of brutality. If Condemned were teaching a college course in brutality, it’d be a brutal 200-level literature class that you’d brutally test out of because you know your brutal shit, not a 400-level brutal self-study philosophy class. Too much thinking in that line of study, not enough brutal.
What I’m getting at is that this thing is kind of brutal, and that fans of brutal death metal could do brutally worse than His Divine Shadow. It’s got everything needed to satisfy one’s brutal tastes, and very little in the way of brutal boredom. Also, it is very brutal.