DEFLESHED
"Reclaim the Beat"

(Candlelight/Regain)

01. Stripped to the Bone
02. Abstinence for Turbulence
03. Chain Reaction
04. Bulldozed (Back to Basic)
05. Under Destruction
06. Grind and Rewind
07. Reclaim the Beat
08. Red Hot
09. May the Flesh be with You
10. Ignorance is Bliss
11. Aggroculture
12. Over and Out

RATING: 4/10

DEFLESHED has been in existence for well over a decade with several releases to their name. Presumably, "Reclaim the Beat" would represent the culmination of those years of honing songwriting skills and improving musicianship. This is not good. I'll cut a band a fair amount of slack for not being the most original and/or refusing to venture outside certain musical parameters, provided the tunes are performed with conviction and the music evokes a certain primal emotion in the listener. In the case of "Reclaim the Beat", I'm all out of rope. This is the sound of a band stumbling through a passionless morass of monotony and contrived thrash metal aggression.

A single track by itself is tolerable; 12 in a row are a maddening. That "Reclaim the Beat" is marginally more exciting than GOD AMONG INSECTS' insipid "World Wide Death" is not exactly heartening. If there were anything resembling a human touch in the playing, at least a handful of tunes would sound significantly better. The scary part is that these are humans performing with actual instruments; it just sounds like a drum machine and stiff programmed guitar parts with adequate black-metal-ish croak vocals. Simply press "start" and the same drum pattern with the same choppy riffing and uninspired delivery picks up where the last song left off. Yes, there are some minor exceptions, but we're talking hair-splitting here. I even kind of like a few of the tracks, such as "Stripped to the Bone" and "Ignorance is Bliss". A smattering of solid riffs, an occasional blast of malevolence, it's not nearly enough to save the album. The cover of MÖTLEY CRÜE's "Red Hot" is mildly amusing at best, and it's barely a departure from the rest of the lot.

Repeat listens for the purpose of ensuring this one got a fair shake only made the experience more grating. You better make sure you're either a DEFLESHED fan or an over-eager completist before shelling out the bucks for this one.

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