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   THE DEFACED
Karma In Black
2003
Scarlet Records
http://www.thedefaced.com


rating: 4/5

1. Fumes From The Swamp
2. Once In Between
3. 10 Vs 9
4. Exit On Body Mass
5. Beneath My Swirl
6. A Moment Of Clarity
7. The Fading Suns
8. Soulsides
9. Forever Winding
10. Karma In Black
This is The Defaced's second output and in case you didn't know this is the other band of Soilwork's drummer Henry Ranta and Darkane's guitarist Klas Ideberg and bassist Jörgen Löfberg. So does this lead to a hybrid of both bands? Yes, it does... but that's still only half of the truth.

Something all three bands have in common is that while being generally heavy/thrashy they have some outstanding melodies with clean or even soft vocals during the choruses. Soilwork's impact on The Defaced has been much greater than Darkane's though. "Karma In Black" is not as heavy and thrashy as Darkane is. But it is very much in the vein of Soilwork without being a complete clone: they added a nice collection of other elements to their sound. Striking is that The Defaced aren't sounding all too Swedish, there's certainly some Amercian influence on these guys. Be it in almost Pantera-like riffs or some uplifting melodies with the touch of an alternative rockband.

First thing you'll hear once you put the disc in your player is a proggy rhythm and a siren-sounding guitar which is the opening to "Fumes From The Swamp". The pretty short track (it only runs for a little more than 3 minutes) probably carries all above mentioned trademarks.
Second tune on the album is "Once In Between" and with its catchy chorus and the brief acoustic outro it should become a little hit! And as if to prove my speculation there's even a video for that song (which can be downloaded from the band's website, if anyone is interested).
While I was listening to the chorus it was the first time vocalist Henrik Sjöwall really caught my attention. This man cannot only shout his guts out but also does have a very pleasant clean voice which luckily he can show in almost every track of the album (the chorus of "10 Vs 9" being the next good example).
While most of the songs follow the concept of "thrashy verses, melodic catchy choruses" the 6th track "A Moment Of Clarity" stands out because it contains a few slowed down moments with an almost doomy atmosphere, only topped by the ballad "Forever Winding". It's a very soft song with acoustic guitars and I had not expected such a track on an album like this.
The closing song and titletrack "Karma In Black" in some strange way reminds me of Darkseed. I tried to tell myself that it cannot be and it might as well be some strange personal experience but I always get this Darkseed sign popping up when I hear the verses of the song.

So, this is a very nice album. It isn't highly original though: I can't put my finger on it but sometimes I just have the feeling that I've heard something like this before. Still, I can wholeheartedly recommend this one to fans of (newer) Soilwork or melodic yet thrashy metal with a modern edge in general. Thumbs up!

submitted by Cora 01.05.2003

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