Let’s get one thing out of the way up-front: The new Deeds of Flesh album Portals To Canaan is a bewilderingly complex tech-death masterpiece. As a demonstration of pure physical speed and dexterity married to voracious brutality, it’s difficult to imagine any other release surpassing it this year.
The songs are one explosion after another of intricate instrumental extravagance: jabbing, darting riffs; swarming melodic leads; jackhammer bass rhythms; bursts of noodling notes and frenzied arpeggios that fly by almost too fast to follow; blistering reverberant solos; unorthodox rhythms; blinding, blasting drumwork. It’s as if the musicians were juiced up on exotic accelerants delivered from another star system when they laid down these tracks.
The music will no doubt spawn different mental images in different listeners, but for me I imagined an army of alien machines fabricating some immense incomprehensible structure in deep space, a thousand gleaming entities performing a thousand tasks at light speed according to perplexing blueprints drawn by monolithic sentient devices with computing power beyond the understanding of mere mortals: Vast frameworks lashed together by writhing metallic tentacles, tangles of wires threaded by nanobots into almost indecipherable patterns, titanium girders slammed into place and joined by explosive welders.