Taking some time off from their main bands Soilwork and Darkane, the members of the Defaced blow a little steam with a bit of uncompromising, virulent death metal on 2003's Karma in Black. What did you do on your summer vacation? As this disc proves, the Defaced obviously didn't go to Club Med. Interestingly though, Karma in Black's secret formula is to mislead listeners into thinking they're in store for a stylistically limited, melodically-averse collection of jagged staccato riffs and hoarse screaming; when, in fact, the quintet inserts numerous flashes of surprisingly textured guitar harmonies and clean-sung vocals into most every cut featured here. Standout tracks like "Fumes from the Swamp," "10 vs. 9," and "The Fading Suns," boast clearly delineated choruses to offset their less accessible surroundings; and while the bulk of this material fails to distinguish itself from your everyday Scandinavian death metal, there are enough unexpected twists and turns along the way to save them from mediocrity as well. In short, Karma in Black is a solid enough effort that will interest, if not thrill, most fans of extreme metal.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia