THE DEFACED – Karma In Black

THE DEFACED - Karma In Black


Release date: June 15, 2002

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If you want to hear one of the great metal songs released this year, buy The Defaced’s Karma In Black and immediately go to song number 6, “A Moment of Clarity.” It has the same sort of catchy yell-along chorus as a Metallica song, but is harder and darker than anything released by that band in quite some time.

The Defaced was formed in 1999 with former members of Darkane, Terror and Soilwork. They have a very American feel to them; this is not European-sounding metal. If you could just make a song of their choruses alone, and play them one after the other, you’d hear some of the best writing in the genre in a long time. It’s eerie how well their choruses are put together. Whatever their formula, it works.

Another great song is the second track, “Once in Between.” The hooks, the yelling of “Determined to fail!” over and over in this song firmly embeds itself in your mind after one listen. It’s melodic, but it’s not pretty. Some bands have problems differentiating the two, but not The Defaced.

Scarlet is known to have a lot of hits — and a few misses — in its catalog of artists. In the band’s press release, The Defaced said they sent their first demo to only one record company, Scarlet, and were immediately signed. This has to be one of Scarlet’s best, if not THE best, act. If they weren’t before, they are now.

Take the song “Exit Body On Mass.” Besides the fact that the song should probably be written “en masse,” this song has everything. It starts out with vocals reminiscent of Alice in Chains, and turns into a throaty growl, the vocals almost barked. A cool bass line between the verses, the Alice and Chains vocals again leading into growls again, and then the chorus. Again, one listen, and you’ll have this song in your head. The best part about this song is that they show their versatility. They don’t have to crank it up every second, they can sing and play slower and more melodic, which makes the hard parts even heavier.

Even their songs that don’t really stand out are good. Ideally, bands want every song to be great. But, sometimes a CD has songs you’d have to consider filler. On Karma In Black, the only songs you might not LOVE are “Beneath My Swirl” and “Soulsides.” In the latter song, this is one of the few tracks on the CD where nothing is sung, just growled/barked the whole time. While the vocals aren’t the best, the guitars wail and the riffs are heavy, so many listeners might actually find this one of their favorites.

All in all, a complete CD. Few, if any, complaints are capable of being made. In fact, they take chances here most bands don’t bother trying. The song “Forever Winding,” on its own, might not turn many heads. But to hear it on this CD, especially if you have been singing along and feel like someone took a cheese-grater to your vocal cords, you’ll dig the change of pace. Again, the word “versatile” comes to mind.

Check out their website, and check out Karma in Black. You’d be determined to fail if you don’t.

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