Defect Designer – Neanderthal (Album Review)

Release Date: July 08th 2022 - Transcending Obscurity Records

Defect Designer - Neanderthal

Defect Designer is at it again, with an upcoming EP titled Neanderthal due for release on July 8th, 2022 via Transcending Obscurity Records. The band has enjoyed quite a long history originally forming in 2005 in Novosibirsk, Serbia but later calling Oslo, Norway home. Featuring members of legendary bands Diskord, Trollfest, and Vingulmork, this is the band’s 5th studio release and 3rd EP. The band comprises Eyvind W. Axelsen, Simen Kandola, Dmitry Sukhinin, and Martin Storm-Olsen.

It’s impossible to classify this release in any one genre. There are elements of death, technical, grindcore, and progressive. I know you’re going to say that these two things don’t belong together, but I think this sound sits firmly in the progressive grindcore genre. Oh, and hey, a quick Google search shows that indeed that genre does exist! Go Me!

The EP starts with the title track Neanderthal, which gets straight down to business with its grindcore sound. There’s no easing into this one, you’d better have that neck pre-warmed up. The song is pure brutality, but we’re already given hints of groove throughout the mid-section. Defect Designer are hinting at what’s to come for the remainder of the EP. They’re clever, very clever.

The EP grows with the second track, Wrinkles which on the first playthrough was my favorite track. It’s another heavy track laden with melodic elements. It does the classic grindcore wall of noise well, and the change in pace at 3 mins is really well done. You can check out the single here.

Trolls are track number three and there’s no other way to describe this than “headbang material”. I dare you to listen and not kill some brain cells. A solid song that’s perfectly positioned within the release – I love when a band spends time working on track sequences. You can listen to this headbang goodness here.

Luddites is the stand-out track for me and my favorite on the EP. The section that starts at about the 2-minute 10 mark is pure class. This is why Defect Designer is leading the way in progressive grindcore. The second half of the song has about 4 different sections and it works so well. The heavy bass, which is present throughout the entire EP, is the icing on the cake. The song finishes so abruptly that it’s a straight-out tease. I really wanted more!

Vlad and Pigsty follow from Luddites and they’re both solid offerings. Pigsty introduces clean vocals and a gentle mid-section which was completely unexpected. Again, progressive grindcore at play here people!

Time, Forward rounds out the EP which is an instrumental offering and the most progressive on the release. Throughout the song is that same heavy bass line which is a constant. It’s a great way to close what is a very polished release.

Defect Designer have really put time into Neanderthal. It’s raw yet polished, brutal yet gentle, mindless yet intelligent. Neanderthal is the best of both worlds when it comes to progressive metal and grindcore. That’s such a fine line to cross and hats off to Defect Designer for being able to walk that line. A great release.

Tracklist:

  1. Neanderthal
  2. Wrinkles
  3. Trolls
  4. Luddites
  5. Vlad
  6. Pigsty
  7. Time, Forward

Defect Designer: Facebook

Release Year: 2022
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Category: EP
Country: Norway

Reviewed by Phil Bergersen