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Defilers Of The Light

International Country of Origin: International

1. Waves Of Desolation
2. Defilers Of The Light
3. Those Who Dwell Below
4. In Praise Of Shadows
5. Just Close Your Eyes
6. Echoes Of Solitude
7. On We Slaughter
8. Dead Inside
9. Masses Of Vain Observance
10. As Apocalypse Dawns
11. Final Sanctuary

Review by Vladimir on June 15, 2024.

Even though I rarely take a look at new death metal bands that were formed in the past couple of years, I do actually make a couple of exceptions, and so far, I have come across some very good ones and some incredibly excellent ones too. Among those incredibly excellent ones is the international band Darkened, formed by members of the Swedish and Canadian extreme metal scene, which had recently released their third full-length album Defilers Of The Light on June 14th, 2024 via Edged Circle Productions, marking another year that is doomed to be drenched in impurity and sickness. 

After launching the 'Waves Of Desolation', the gateway opens to welcome the 'Defilers Of The Light', who have come to unleash chaos upon the world and poison the youth with plague-infested morbid death metal. The overall band performance expresses such intensity and madness through those sick riffs, blast beat drums and guttural shouting vocals, but even more so, they manage to create such a great head start with their first couple of tracks that it gradually builds up towards an even darker and stronger direction. As everything progresses, more brutality and headbanging tunes echo from the shadows, where even more wicked and vile death metal comes to play their grand part in this horrific storyline, while becoming more invested in the album when songs like 'Just Close Your Eyes' get their turn. There is a nice transition from one half of the album to another, with the instrumental track 'Echoes Of Solitude' that is essentially an intermission or the bridge that fills the gap, but once that is over, things get really interesting and bat-shit crazy from here on out. The seventh track 'On We Slaughter' is possibly the most outstanding and extreme of the bunch, due to being slowly built from the ground up with such musical suspense, introducing some epic and melodic moments on the song which blend in perfectly with the maniacal death-thrashing. Another example that provides some nice and welcoming surprises is the eight track 'Dead Inside', thanks to its use of emotional piano parts and melodic guitar work which goes beyond this world, but executed so intelligently and carefully to the point where you are just without words. Ironically speaking, Darkened’s performance on Defilers Of The Light does become incredibly “darkened” with its atmosphere and musicality, because the deeper you go the more hellish it gets, and it doesn’t get any weaker during the second half, it is just the calm before the storm, especially 'As Apocalypse Dawns'. This proved itself to be such an incredible journey all the way through, because there was not a single second on the album where I didn’t feel engaged with such anticipation, and it pays off very nicely with the final outro track 'Final Sanctuary' that gives this death metal massacre a grand closure. 

Songwriting-wise, it is essentially standard in terms of what you would expect from death metal in the musical sense, but it is nonetheless very dynamic and rich with its variety of ideas that go from rhythm changes to all sorts of riffs and melodies. All the ideas that were incorporated on the album turned out to be very effective and well-placed, with each transition being so nicely executed to the point you can’t find a single flaw in the band’s logic. Darkened is a prime example of death metal done right, a seldom seen nowadays, and their overall output is a very solid balance between oldschool and more contemporary style. Truly the title Defilers Of The Light really lives up to its name, because it does provide that unholy and morbid kind of death metal that you rarely find nowadays, which is like nailing a priest to the wall or spitting blood and fire at the face of your enemies. Aside from the amazing output, what stands out on this album is the cover art by the Spanish artist Juanjo Castellano who had worked on all their previous released from their first EP Into The Blackness and onwards, and yet again he gave us an awesome album cover that is very true in style to all the other ones he had done before, but it also perfectly fits the title and the musical essence of Darkened. As for the production, I can say that the album has a very top-notch sound that expresses a moderate level of death metal rawness in a more high-quality sense, but nevertheless highlighting the great aspects of their intensity and death-thrashing violence. 

Overall, Defilers Of The Light is a beast of an album that is very true to itself and highly successful in delivering the most horrific and death-defying output. Darkened really knows how to do business around here, and it certainly shows with this album that it will definitely crush all the non-believers, while standing high on its pedestal. Honestly, is there anything else I could say about it that I haven’t already said? If you are curious to check it out, make sure you do so, because you are guaranteed to have one hell of a time. 

Rating: 8.9 out of 10


Review by Michael on June 14, 2024.

Light pollution is a very current topic, especially in the industrial countries and is a huge problem for animals, insects and even for scientists. Of course it is doubtful, if the Canadian-Swedish collaboration Darkened wanted to tell some stories about this but at least they obviously have some issues with defilement in different meanings.
Defilers Of The Light is the third full-length album by the guys and after a very promising EP where there introduced their new drummer Perra Karlsson (cheers Perra, a beer for every time I mention you would be fine!) who is involved in countless other projects (I always wonder how he finds all the time for that). So he has replaced Andy Whale in 2022 and this gives the band a slightly different direction actually.

Where Darkened on the first two albums was slightly more into the Bolt Thrower direction, the song-writing has become much more diverse on Defilers Of The Light and so the whole thing has become even more entertaining than the previous one which also weren't bad indeed. So here you can find a well-balanced mixture of pretty fast neck breaking, double-bass-stuffed full-speed death metal tracks like 'In Praise Of Shadows' or 'As Apocalypse Dawns' that really go straight ahead without any compromises and are quite a logical continuation of what the band did since 2018. But although the basic framework is very aggressive, there are always some comprehendible melodies in there that give the songs a certain order. Then there are some really catchy and galloping mid-tempo stompers with again very cool melodies inside like 'Dead Inside' or 'Those Who Dwell Below' that start like some sick, festering Autopsy abominations. For tracks like those you don't need any warm-up time, they just go instantly into your ears and capture you. That's really good death metal to fall in love with instantly. And finally Darkened also composed some more atmospheric tracks that really grow when you listen to them several times. 'On We Slaughter' for instance starts almost tragically with some sad minor tuned guitars and shows some really epic approaches. Some go for a song like 'Masses Of Vain Observance' where you get dragged into a hypnotic, gloomy and frantic struggle to get out of this death metal maelstrom. This might be one of the slowest tracks they ever did but it is also one of the most outstanding ones because of the atmosphere. The here and there appearing piano tunes (almost not noticeable, you have to listen very carefully to find them) are kind of dramatic topping on the rest. That's a great one!

Apart from the song-writing, the production is quite a success as well. Powerful and well-balanced and what I especially like is that crunchiness in Gords vocals. His raspy and deep voice turns out very well on Defilers Of The Light. I don't get the feeling on the album that they put the one or the other instrument more into the focus, each one you can hear clearly and explicitly. And also the cover done by Juanjo Castellano once again is top notch, too.

Let me sum up and come back to light pollution – there is literally no big shadow to find on, the death metal lights are burning bright on that album. If you want to get some cool underground death metal from a really good label, namely Edged Circle Productions, go and support the band. They have deserved a higher popularity than they actually have.

Rating: 9.4 out of 10