Defamer - Chasm (unsigned)

Defamer have already scored supports for legends like Carcass and Children of Bodom, so their debut album has every potential of being very good. And this Brisbane quintet have indeed given us some quality death metal.

Defamer are Sam Alcock (guitar), James Geekie (drums), Mitch Rogers (guitar), Krist Sadler (bass) and Tim Smith (vocals). After a demo release in 2007, this album, Chasm, is their first full-length disc. It's a self-released effort, the band currently unsigned, and it's a pretty impressive effort for all that. The cover image is a bit cartoony and the font they've chosen to use in the liner notes is actually pretty much unreadable, which is a shame if you want to follow the lyrics. But it's all about the music, right? Kids these days are downloading everything and wouldn't know what a liner was if you rammed it up their arse, so it's pretty academic anyway. And the music isn't bad at all.

The obvious early comparisons will be to the standard Florida death metal benchmarks, but there's also an undeniable influence from Nile at play here, especially in the atmospheric opening of the first track, In Umbris. That Nile influence does persist throughout the recording, most notably in the vocal style, but this album is definitely not just fanboy masturbation by Nile tragics. The influence of other death and black metal bands is apparent throughout and the album is varied.

There's a lot of very tight drum and riffage action happening, the pace and rhythm varies regularly from track to track, and there are some nice effects dropped in here and there. The vocals are variable too, notably in songs like track five, Of The Chasm, showcasing Tim Smith's versatility.

Overall the album is hard, fast and nasty. There are definite doomy overtones from time to time and the shifting from the obvious death metal to the more atmospheric black and doom sounds is nicely handled. The album is well constructed and it seems as if a lot of thought has gone into the track order to make the disc work as whole.

Standouts for me would include track six, Chorus Of Whispers, which is anything but, and track seven, Maelstrom, which has some powerful riffage and some impressive solo work towards the end. By track eight, Endless Hordes Expiring, we're back down into the deep dark doom.

The thing that is most impressive about this album is that it's a debut. This band have certainly got the chops and have released here a mature and powerful album that sets a high precedent for things to come. This unsigned Aussie band are definitely worth a listen. You can get their album from their MySpace page. A page, incidentally, that has an excellent profile picture.

Chasm by Defamer is out now.