Kill or Be Killed! – The Warfare Behind Deeds of Flesh’s Mark Of The Legion

Guest Article by Svennerick

Deeds Of Flesh’s music is known for breaking from the conventional, but unlike many other bands who resolve to untypical instruments or gimmicks, Deeds Of Flesh portray their own variety of death metal through the war that rages within their song structures and riffs.

This war is led by introducing songs with an initial theme and letting it mutate and grow until it becomes even more alien and deadly than its original interpretation. This method allows the songs to portray stories of war and epic battles in a more heroic and honorary matter, rather than simply showing the horrors of war. This is not so different from any of the rest of the band’s output, although from these songs emerges a sense of superiority, as the enemy is crushed by demigod-like humans, being stronger and outsmarting everyone in warfare.

Images of a desolate, barren, snowy battlefield are invoked into the listener’s head. Corpses and their blood are spilled between burning arrows and catapults, yet the swords continue to clash as the enemy’s demise must be proclaimed.

Musically, this is achieved by breaking up the maze of muffled power chords and precise rhythmic playing on the lower strings, which then hands over the sceptre to a tremolo-picked melody which unfolds over many bars while always returning in another shape of form. Sometimes those variations resolve the conflict that brings the guitars to chase each other, annihilate each other while being strongly linked to the drums. The resulting harmonization sounds like an advancement of the story, actually giving an idea of gained strength over the enemy a stronger sense of fulfillment.

A strong example for aforementioned songwriting method is the song “Contest Of Wills”. The melody appearing at around 01:15 gets partly introduced on a very minimalistic level throughout the previous minute, since the ideas seem very familiar to the more emphasized and leading melody. At around 01:30, the melody progresses even more into sounding so deadly and obliterating that the listener feels the growing welcome of death within the enemy’s soul. The brute force and sheer willpower is unstoppable, which is suggested by the muffled power chords between 01:42 and 01:57 until the melody returns stronger than before. This is even more emphasized by the double vocal attack of victorious screams and inhumane deep grunts, something only maniacs would do before decapitating everyone in front of their troops. After the pinch harmonic at around 2:50 ends, the song seems to be faster than ever the and elemental parts of the original melody are played in a more apparent fashion, suggesting that the enemy troops have been successfully decimated into nothing but intestines and fallen men.

The most admirable thing about Deeds Of Flesh is the successful combination of two types of death metal: The muscular-sounding American death metal is displayed through the uncontrollable speed and power with a strong focus on percussion, while the other integral part comes from taking out the smallest ideas of a motive and letting it mutate into something new, which At The Gates did a lot. The foreshadowing of a motif comes from bands like Suffocation, who often sprinkled their beloved breakdowns very early throughout songs, displaying them in full fashion only once their time has come.

Deeds Of Flesh never played with the big names of Death Metal, yet they understood what makes it so special and unique, which is the successful use of variation and interpreting single parts of riffs as a method to create new unknown, but logical ones.

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10 thoughts on “Kill or Be Killed! – The Warfare Behind Deeds of Flesh’s Mark Of The Legion

  1. BlackPhillip says:

    Killer album. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. Excellent article, obviously miles above the blastbeat network fluff pieces. Always looking forward to more.

  3. Svmmoned says:

    Lindmark was a great composer. There was always something wrong with the production on their later albums, though.

    1. seaman says:

      They became Calideath, that’s what was wrong with the last two. I get they were going for the whole scifi robot vibe but it just left me cold.

      1. You Will Be ANUSimilated says:

        resistance is in style

  4. Creed Braddock says:

    Solid, but the beginning of their downfall.

    1. Sadly true. They will be remembered for Path of the Weakening.

    2. svennerick says:

      Hey Creed,
      Guest Writer here.
      I think the best period was from Inbreeding until Reduced To Ashes. On Crown Of Souls deeds of flesh started to get worse. on Mark Of Legion and Reduced To Ashes they already implemented some more technical nuances but the storytelling tremolo picking wasn’t completely gone. Although I agree with Brett, Path Of The Weakening will always be their best album, no one can deny that.

      Hails.

  5. Drewcifer says:

    Path of the Weakening was their first peak. Crown of Souls, Reduced to Ashes, and Mark of the Legion, while still good overall, they were kinda paint by the numbers for me. The last two were a rebirth creatively.

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