The Redlight Murder Case
posted on 6/2008 By:
Swedish death metal act Deranged is back for the final installment of their fifteen-year career. Between the time this album was released and the time I wrote this review, in the face of line-up changes, the band called it quits. I would imagine that many of you, like me, are not as familiar with Deranged’s works as with those of their more groundbreaking countrymen—I’d heard of them, but somehow failed to ever actually hear them. As I listen to this and reflect on the end of the band’s career, I regret not having explored their catalog further while they were around, because, when it comes to classic, no frills death metal, The Redlight Murder Case is a fun little slice, if you’ll pardon the pun.
I do love the Swedish stuff, as I’ve expressed before (and will yet again in my forthcoming review of Grave’s new release). The patent guitar tone is almost here, this one a li’l bit buzzing but not 100% Sunlight glory. The riffing on The Redlight Murder Case is more along the lines of American death than the brutality of Grave or the filthy melodies of Dismember. At times, Deranged sounds like vintage Cannibal Corpse if Cannibal Corpse were Swedish, with the blasting and squealing chunky riffs reminiscent of a day when technical death metal wasn’t synonymous with a sweep-picking wankfest. The alternately soaring and chugging main bit in “The Killer Wore Black Gloves” is the highlight of the record, although honorable mentions should go to moments in “Death Walks On High Heels” and “Redlight Murderess.” The riffs on hand are simply killer (again, pardon the pun).
Vocalist Martin Schonherr has a low, throaty grunt and never varies it up—there’s no two-tone, high/low approach for this one, kids, just standard old-school gruntwork… The vocal approach can get a little monotonous, yes, but the riffage varies it up between some grooviness and all-out fury, so when the lack of vocal dynamics get a bit tiresome, it’s easy to focus back into the instrumentation. Plus, it appears The Redlight Murder Case is a conceptual piece about murdering prostitutes, and who doesn’t love that? (Note to the FBI: I’m kidding. There is no reason to look in the crawlspace under my back porch.)
Along with Dawn Of Demise, Deranged tops my list of recent unexpected kick-ass death metal releases. But yet, I’d wager that in the wake of bigger-name releases by Dismember, Grave and Unleashed, Deranged’s parting shot will undoubtedly and unfairly be overlooked. (Honestly, despite the presence of the word “unfairly,” compared to the records I just listed, overlooking Deranged is not only understandable but also probably justified. Those Dismember and Grave albums are complete monsters.) But the fact that Deranged likely won’t get much credit for The Redlight Murder Case makes me a sad little monkey for two reasons: because it’s a good record and because, after fifteen years, these guys likely deserve better than once again being stuck in the shadow of the same legendary bands. I stumbled across The Redlight Murder Case entirely by accident, and I’m here to tell you this: it kills. And yes, it’s dropped on top of records by bigger bands, but if you have room in your budget and in your collection for four Swedish death metal records in the first half of 2008, then here’s number four.
(Writer’s note: if you have room in your collection/budget, take those records in the order listed above, but seriously, this one’s damn good and should be given its due.)
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