When formidable, critically acclaimed, heavily influential Swedish melodic death metal troupe and Earache recording artist At the Gates decided to call it a day at the top of their game, three of its members quickly formed the Haunted. But what was still unclear was to whom vocalist Tomas Lindberg would next lend his throaty growls. The answer to that question came in 1998 with the formation of the Great Deceiver, a metallic quintet that treads a streamlined, hardcore path sharing a greater similarity to the Haunted's Pantera-styled feel than At the Gates' more traditionally metal-oriented melodic savagery. The band's sound is brutal, however, with its pounding rhythms, bone-rattling riffage, abrasive eagerness, and breakneck velocity. A Metal Hammer scribe likened the Great Deceiver's sound to Sepultura's landmark Roots album "meets Neurosis," which is perhaps not an inaccurate description of what these Swedes do.
The Great Deceiver's first recorded work -- the Jet Black Art mini-CD/10" EP -- surfaced in Europe on Swedish indie Bridge Records before it was licensed in 2000 by the more traditionally hardcore-oriented Trustkill in the United States. Original drummer Hans Nilsson left the Great Deceiver shortly after the EP's completion, making the lineup consist of his replacement Kalle Anderson, Lindberg, bassist Matti Lundell, and the dual guitar/songwriting team of Johan Osterberg and Kristian Wahlin. The band commenced writing material for their first full-length album shortly thereafter, halting for a time as Lindberg lent his vocal talents to metal supergroup Lock Up on tour after the band's vocalist quit to focus on other projects. In addition to Lock Up (an outfit that has included members of Napalm Death and Dimmu Borgir, and at one point Hypocrisy), Lindberg was next seen fronting a band called the Crown.
In interviews in late 2001, Lindberg remarked that the Great Deceiver was still going strong, despite his involvement in other bands. And in fact, the band's next album, A Venom Well Designed, surfaced in mid-2002 via Peaceville, followed in the fall of 2003 by Terra Incognito. The Great Deceiver signed with Massachusetts-based Deathwish Inc the spring 2007 and readied their label debut, Life Is Wasted on the Living, for release that August. ~ Ryan J. Downey