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Music / Defeated Sanity

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L to R: Christian, Konni, Jacob, and Lille

I want him to feel death.
I want him to smell death.
-From "Coerced Into Idolatry"

Influences:Disgorge, Cannibal Corpse, Internal Suffering, Suffocation, Malignancy, Immolation, Deeds of Flesh, Gorgasm, Brodequin, Cryptopsy, Internal Bleeding, Mortal Decay, Pyrexia, Death, Atheist, Devourment, Monstrosity, Nocturnus, Watchtower, Mekong Delta, Megadeth, Forbidden, Martyr, Cynic, Confessor, Psychotic Waltz, Deathrow

Defeated Sanity are a German Technical Brutal Death Metal band.

They formed in 1994, originally as a side project of guitarist Wolfgang Teske and his son, drummer Lille Gruber. Gruber is the only original remaining member left in the band, following the departure of Teske in July 2008. The other members are Christian Kühn (guitar), and Jacob Schmidt (bass guitar). For almost a year the band was looking for a new vocalist, due to Jens Staschel leaving the band shortly before Teske; Staschel's replacement, A.J. Magana from Disgorge was announced in June 2009.

Since their formation, Defeated Sanity has released three studio albums: Prelude to the Tragedy (2004), and Psalms of the Moribund (2007), both through the United Kingdom-based label Grindethic Records, and Chapters of Repugnance (2010) and Passages into Deformity(2013) through Willowtip Records. Defeated Sanity also released numerous promos, demos and splits. Influenced by bands such as Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation, their music is mostly based on the New York death metal style. On 2 May 2009, the band announced their signing to Willowtip Records.

In 2010, shortly after Chapters of Repugnance was released, ex-original member Wolfgang Teske had died of cancer, making any possible chances of him rejoining his son all but hopeless.

Current Line Up:

  • Lille Gruber – drums (1994–present)
  • Jacob Schmidt – bass (2005–present)
  • Josh Welshman - vocals (2016-present)
  • Vaughn Stoffey - guitars (2023-present)

Notable Past Members:

  • Konstantin "Konni" Lühring – vocals (2011–2015)
  • A.J. Magana - vocals (2009–2011)
  • Jens Staschel – vocals (2004–2008)
  • Markus Keller – vocals (2000–2004)
  • Robert Colnik – vocals (1998–2000)
  • Wolfgang Teske (RIP 2010) – guitar (1994–2008)
  • Christian Muenzner – guitar (1999–2002)
  • Christian Kühn – guitar (2005–2019)

Live Session Line Up:

  • Andy Tseung - vocals (EU) (2015)
  • Max Phelps - vocals (prog set) (2015-present)
  • Kevin Heiderich - guitar (prog set) (2015-2016, 2019)
  • Tom Geldschlaeger (2016-2018)
  • Dan Thornton (2019-present)
  • Justin Sakogawa (2019-present)

Main Discography:

  • Prelude to the Tragedy (2004)
  • Psalms of the Moribund (2007)
  • Chapters of Repugnance (2010)
  • Passages into Deformity (2013)
  • Disposal of the Dead/Dharmata (2016)
  • The Sanguinary Impetus (2020)

The band displays examples of the following:

  • Ascended Extra: Josh Welshman.
  • Band of Relatives: At one point Lille's brother, Jonas Gruber, was also part of the band along with Wolfgang, but only appeared on demos.
  • Brutal Death Metal: An example that occasionally borders on slam due to the heaviness.
  • Concept Album: Each half of Disposal of the Dead/Dharmata has its own lyrical concept, to go with the album's two contrasting styles. Disposal deals with funerary practices from around the world, while Dharmata explores Buddhist themes. The Sanguinary Impetus is another one of these, with a focus based around the brutality of the natural world.
  • Cover Version: "Butchered at Birth" by Cannibal Corpse
  • Distinct Double Album: Disposal of the Dead/Dharmata is this by way of exploring both major aspects of their sound; one side is loaded with big, dumb slams, while the other side is far more technical and progressive than anything else they've ever done. The band has variously described the album as a "double EP" and a "split album with ourselves".
  • Epic Rocking: "Perspectives" is 6:49 minutes long, "The Mesmerizing Light" is 6:46, and "Return to Samsara" is 8:40.
  • Fading into the Next Song: Almost every song on some of the later releases. Particularly notable is Disposal of the Dead // Dharmata, where not merely are all the Dharmata songs connected, but they actually connect to the end of Disposal of the Dead as well. Psalms and Passages do this the most out of all their full-lengths, probably, but apart from their demos, all of their releases do it at least a few times.
  • Gorn: Largely of the Misanthrope Supreme/Straw Nihilist variety.
  • Horrible History Metal: "Stoned then Defiled" seems to be a rather graphic description of what happens to those who break religious laws, one of the executions being stoned.
  • I Am the Band: Lille Gruber is this as far as the legacy of the band goes, being the only original member. However, Schmidt joined the band in 2005 and shares songwriting duties alongside Gruber and Kuhn when Wolfgang left in 2008, and passed away in 2010.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: "Consuming Grief", in this case ritual cannibalism of the deceased.
  • Instrumentals: "Introitus"
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: Disposal of the Dead/Dharmata is explicitly an experiment that was intended to separate the two main components of their style and expand upon them. The first half is comprised of grimy brutal death in the vein of Devourment, Disgorge, and Brodequin with a deliberately lo-fi production style, while the second half is progressive death/thrash in the vein of Atheist, Martyr, and Sadus with a production job that is somewhat similar to the classic Morrisound style.
  • Lead Bassist: Jacob Schmidt is a Type A and Type C, as he's astoundingly skilled from a technical standpoint and also shares songwriting duties with Lille.
  • Lead Drummer: Lille Gruber essentially is the band (though Schmidt does a lot as well) and writes most of the material, in addition to being known for his very unique style and extreme technical ability. He is also an extremely accomplished guitarist, up to the point where he tracked a lot of Dharmata and the entirety of The Sanguinary Impetus after Christian left.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Wolfgang and Lille, until the former passed away in 2010.
  • Miniscule Rocking:
    • "Arousal Through Punishment" from Psalms is only 1:42 minutes long
    • "Initiation" off Passages, while even shorter (1:15), is possibly a subversion, as although it's considered a single track, they tend to play "Naraka" right after as if they are the same songs split into two live.
    • "Remotio Morturorum" from Disposal of the Dead // Dharmata is two minutes and "Dharmata" from the same album is one minute, though those are more like intros to their respective sides of the album than proper songs.
  • Multinational Team: Lille and Jacob are from Germany, while Josh is from the US, and Jacob himself currently lives in the US as well.
  • Nature Metal: The Sanguinary Impetus is a loose Concept Album about the various brutal and disgusting realities of the natural world.
  • New Sound Album:
    • Psalms was far denser and more complex than the straightforward NYDM worship of Prelude, in addition to being far heavier.
    • Chapters was even more complex and focused less on brutality and more on unpredictable, constantly shifting arrangements.
    • Passages brought back some of the retro-NYDM that was present in their early material, as well as focusing less on technicality and more on an "evil" atmosphere.
    • Disposal of the Dead/Dharmata is an experiment that is intended to isolate the two main components of their sound and play them in their style; the former half is raw, stripped-down, and far slammier than they would ever normally be, while the latter half is old-school progressive death metal that has absolutely none of the more brutal elements of their sound.
    • The Sanguinary Impetus was overall a throwback to the classic style of Technical Brutal Death Metal, but in their style.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: "Propelled into Sacrilege", along with Bears Are Bad News and Gaia's Lament, as the subject is a starving polar bear forced to turn to cannibalism due to habitat destruction and a shortage of normal prey animals.
  • Once per Episode: They have released preview tracks from albums they were in the process of writing over a year in advance for each release starting with Passages into Deformity (as "Frenzy" was a bonus track on the Updated Re-release of Psalms of the Moribund).
  • The Perfectionist: Lille has quite openly admitted that he is one of these; their writing process is a lengthy, deliberate affair that involves lots of revisions and difficult decisions (including scrapping large portions of songs that have been done for months), and he will be the first to admit it when he feels that he chose poorly and released a song that was beneath his standards.
  • Progressive Metal: Dharmata.
  • Retraux: Both sides of Disposal of the Dead/Dharmata are deliberate throwbacks; the former is a throwback to the late 1990s/early 2000s Unique Leader, United Guttural, and Unmatched Brutality catalogs with a raw, lo-fi production style and cover art from Jon Zig, while the latter is a throwback to various early 1990s technical thrash and death metal albums with a Morrisound-emulating production.
  • Revolving Door Band: There was a lot of turnover early on and Lille is the only remaining founder, but Schmidt has been in the band for fifteen years, and Kuhn was in the band for fourteen years before he left in 2019.
  • Sampling: "Coerced Into Idolatry", among others.
  • Signature Style: Extremely fast and heavy material that blends NYDM with jazz and classical music, though in a decidedly non-melodic manner; in fact, the jazz and classical compositional elements are used to make the material convey even more of a sense of unease.
  • Special Guest: Frank Rini (Internal Bleeding) and Brian Forgue (Syphilic) have contributed guest vocals, and Magana returned just to deliver a guest spot on Passages; the Dharmata new album also features Max Phelps (also of Death to All) as a session vocalist.
  • Technical Death Metal: Basically what Disgorge or Devourment would sound like if they were to increase said complex musicianship to a new level and had a jazz drummer and a classical composer bassist.
  • Technician Versus Performer: Lille and Jacob (technicians) versus Christian (performer). Christian apparently just came up with stuff on the fly and usually gravitated towards more standard (though still quite technical) brutal death and slam riffing, which contrasted Lille and Jacob's more deliberate and perfectionist songwriting styles and focus on more technical and unconventional material. Lille even stated that Christian's more casual approach to songwriting was a big help whenever he and/or Jacob would hit a brick wall and couldn't come up with anything or couldn't make something that they were working on come out the way that they wanted it to.
  • Teen Genius: Gruber was only twelve when he formed the band with Teske, Muenzner was around seventeen or eighteen when he joined, and Schmidt was also around eighteen when he joined.