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Deviant Syndrome - "Inflicted Deviations" (CD)

Deviant Syndrome - "Inflicted Deviations" CD cover image

"Inflicted Deviations" track listing:

1. Harbingers Of Extinction
2. Blessing The Emptiness
3. Entire Cosmic Elements
4. Seal Of A Star Dweller
5. The Wicked
6. A Day To Fall
7. Consequence
8. Liberation
9. Drowned In The Frozen Sun

Reviewed by on July 10, 2011

"Eight songs of killer and zero filler."

After two decades, melodic death metal has created polarities among listeners as stark as the sonic juxtaposition the term itself evokes. You either can’t get enough of it, or ignore everything since “Slaughter Of The Soul.” It’s either the most glorious innovation since sliced bread, or a genre-straddling pussification of pure, grinding death. Or you love the style, but have grown weary of its oversaturated presence and long for a breath of fresh air.

Whatever your stance, if you’re looking to add another notch to your musical discovery belt, you could do far worse than Russia’s ravenous young five-piece Deviant Syndrome. Given their obvious affection for their Finnish neighbors in Ensiferum, Kalmah, and Norther, their debut full-length “Inflicted Deviations” won’t exactly shock or surprise you, but will impress on many, many levels. These kids have done their homework, and possess the chops, songwriting savvy, ears for melody, and balls for brutality required to kick your ass and tenderly bandage it before kicking it again. Then you’ll thank them and request another, because while not original, their album flat-out rocks.

Minus the rather unnecessary 41-second intro (really, why do so many bands feel the need for one?), “Inflicted Deviations” is eight songs of killer and zero filler. Lead track “Blessing The Emptiness” sets the standard for the rest to follow: cocaine-fueled speed metal with flawless tempo shifts, bursts of thrash, and harmonized riffs, leads and solos galore – all complemented and elevated by soaring keyboards. As zestful as it all is, the band doesn’t blow their wad and let it tumble away from them; each song is firmly anchored by structural backbone riffs that keep the melodic mayhem in check. In particular, “Entire Cosmic Elements” and “Consequence” (featuring guest vocals by Norther’s Aleksi Sihvonen) will dig themselves through your eardrums to your brain and won’t leave. Deviant Syndrome even shows off a little variety on the relaxed Children Of Bodom-influenced mid-tempo gallop “The Wicked” and the nearly nine-minute virtuoso instrumental “Liberation” that unfolds like a tribute to all that metal is, was, and can still be.

Admittedly, you could replace “Deviant Syndrome” with the name of any one of a sextillion bands out there, not change another word, and this review would still make sense – if not for the fact that these Russians truly live, breathe, and embody melodic death metal, rather than simply imitate it. While many of the style’s pioneers have rightfully and understandably moved on to explore new sounds, bands like Deviant Syndrome are essential in keeping its roots alive and preserving that shiver of amazement you felt when you first popped “The Jester Race” or “The Gallery” in your CD player.

Highs: "Entire Cosmic Elements," "The Wicked," "Consequence," "Liberation," and the general roller coaster ride the band makes of its energetic take on melodeath.

Lows: You've heard it all before.

Bottom line: A by-the-numbers, but undeniably contagious and inspiring, barrage of thrashy Russian melodic death metal with a major Finnish influence.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)