Deranged - _Deranged_
(Listenable, 2001)
by: Matthias Noll (7.5 out of 10)
To my ears, Suffocation, Carcass and Morbid Angel are definitely among the ones who set the standards for most of today's brutal death metal bands. Unfortunately, I'm under the impression that rather than providing encouragement, spiritual guidance and a solid foundation from where to explore unchartered territory, the legacy of the threesome seems to strangle the creativity of many of the current bands. I find this to be especially valid for many of the acts coming from the US these days, and although _Deranged_ has its flaws, I felt relieved to hear something without notable influences from the above named bands. Of course one could name Cannibal Corpse as a (if only slightly audible) point of reference, but even though that does not make them any better, at least that's something slightly different from the current trend. Whether this is proof of the sad state of the majority of death metal releases or exactly what the fans want and finally get doesn't really matter now; in the case of this review it probably manifests itself through a very slight bonus in the rating. Production-wise, the record does not leave much to be desired. _Deranged_ is notably crisp and clear without sacrificing any power and suiting the guitar driven approach perfectly. This is definitely the best work I've heard from Berno Paulsson so far. While definitely death metal, this record has strong ties to '80s thrash metal -- be it the relentless, clearly defined staccato of Deranged's guitar work, or their Slayer-esque stop/start dynamics. Although I already mentioned that I hear a little Cannibal Corpse in Deranged's music now and then, I mean moments rather than whole songs. Their songwriting is not really comparable to CC's and the variations of the main riffs create a far more free-flowing, over-the-top atmosphere, probably rooted in the single-guitarist songwriting process. Quite surprising for me was the complete absence of any elements that define the "Swedish sound" on _Deranged_. They're probably the least Swedish-sounding band from Sweden I've ever heard. Unfortunately, they fail to offer anything new and really different from the thousands of other death metal bands on this planet, even though this record does not fall into the category of total boredom and has some -- as our rating system nicely puts it -- "redeeming qualities". If Deranged had a distinguishable vocalist and got rid of the endless repetition of the same, simplistic snare drum break, I would have given them an 8. This is an enjoyable, powerful and well executed record, but only recommended for the death metal enthusiast with either a well filled wallet or the desire to own a lot of stuff from the second tier of the genre.

(article published 12/8/2001)

2/3/2008 J Smit 8 Deranged - The Red Light Murder Case
5/29/2003 J Montague 4 Deranged - Plainfield Cemetery
12/9/1999 D Rocher 8 Deranged - III
11/19/1998 A Bromley 7 Deranged - High on Blood
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