Japan isn't exactly a country that's overflowing with death metal acts, but Tokyo's Defiled has been staying true to the old school variant of the genre since 1992 and, for the most part, gone unnoticed amongst death metal fans. I had never heard of the band prior to In Crisis - their first release in almost eight years. While I can't say that I've enjoyed In Crisis nearly as much as I hoped I would, old school death metal fans might get a kick out of this. For me, the muddy production, unpolished musicianship, and lack of memorable songwriting simply diminish most of my enjoyment here. There's definitely quality to be found on Defiled's fourth studio album, but I'm not sure if it's enough to warrant a purchase in the oversaturated death metal scene. If you're a die-hard old school death metal fan, a follower of Defiled, or curious how Japanese death metal will sound, you might want to check out In Crisis. As far as my money goes, there's definitely some better old school death metal on the scene to invest in before this.
The music here is brutal old school death metal played in an American style. I'm often reminded of Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, or a less polished Morbid Angel. There's also a slight technical/progressive edge, mainly due to the dissonant chord structures and complex basslines. In that respect, there's a hint of early Atheist and maybe even Gorguts. The concept behind Defiled's sound is great, but the music simply doesn't hold up. Even right after a focused listening session, it's hard to recall more than a couple riffs and chord progressions. I enjoy listening to In Crisis while it's on, but when it's over there's not much to remember it by. Picking out any single track from the album is difficult since, aside from the brief into and outro, all of the songs sound almost identical. Again, for some people this may be a good thing; just not for me. The musicianship is generally good, though it is very raw and unpolished. Some people may enjoy this raw playing style, but I definitely think more work should've been done in the delivery aspect of In Crisis. The most notable aspect in Defiled's music is the bass playing from Haruhisa Takahata, which is pretty impressive. Bass playing usually takes a backseat in old school death metal, but Haruhisa delivers plenty of technically outstanding basslines that should impress fans of Roger Patterson and the like.
The production is almost unlistenable, in my opinion. If the production were better, I could definitely see myself enjoying In Crisis much more. This just sounds muddy and unfocused - people who like the production of early death metal demos should be right at home with this, but I think Defiled deserves a better production than what they've gotten here.
In Crisis is a decent album by Defiled with a few flaws that bring it down to below-average. My rating will be 2 (almost 2.5) stars here. There's definitely an audience of death metal fans who may want to check this out, but I hesitate in calling it an essential or even recommended purchase, especially considering the truckloads of other great recent death metal releases. If the production were better and the compositions a bit more memorable, In Crisis would've been a much more recommended acquisition. As it stands, this is really only an item for collectors and die-hard death metal fans.