Humanity Defiled - _The Demise of the Sane_
(Independent, 2015)
by: Dan Lake (8 out of 10)
I raved about Iwein Denayer's death metal solo project a couple years ago when he released his debut stunner, _Circling the Drain_. It was a fresh take on a familiar form, and it invested unmistakable death metal tropes with a highly personalized performance that fed off the very real torments of young people in Denayer's world. But hey, that could have been a fluke, unrepeatable and precious.

Thankfully, as follow-up _The Demise of the Sane_ proves, Denayer's musical personality is no accident. Again, his engaging style and approach to songwriting turns a half-hour of death metal -- which so easily could have lost itself in its own forced brutality -- into an emotional exploration of dark human experiences, without all the hyper-masculine posing that so often accompanies this music. I don't even mean "posing" in the photographic sense; somehow the music opens up and exposes its vulnerabilities while still being 100% death metal. There is space in HD's songs, allowing mournful guitar solos and thrumming bass accents to widen the impact of the music. Of course, let's not ignore the straight-ahead devastation of songs like "Forked Tongue Delusion" and "The Circular Strain" and the fact that they unapologetically melt faces.

Again, there is one sprawling doom/death opus in "Asystole," though the shorter "Loss" also gives itself over to the same sorrowful sensibilities. Again, Denayer's choice of cover song (this time it's SSD's "Headed Straight") is inspired and reformed to fit the HD pattern. Everything about _The Demise of the Sane_ reinforces the strengths that were evident on _Circling the Drain_. It's absurd that so few people are tapping into HD's vision, as opposed to the more generic death metal coming out of Belgium or, you know, everywhere else. It's time for the greater metal community to pay attention to what Denayer is doing with death metal and raise the expectations bar for everybody else.


ALBUMS
6/30/2013 D Lake 8.5 Humanity Defiled - Circling the Drain
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