If you are like me and love fast and hard music as much as you like mellow and ambient songs, chances are that you know the following problem: when it comes to technical records, they sometimes feel a bit sterile and lack atmosphere. On the other hand, very ambient and mellow music like post-metal sometimes feels to anticlimactic and slow.
If you can identify with this I have a special record for you today. The record I’m referring too is Failure, Subside from the Australian post-death-metal outfit DÉPARTE, which came out on the 14th of October. The album has a lot of fast, open and technical riffs which are mostly reverb- and delay –heavy. It is quite different from most post-black-metal, because the focus lays mainly on the intensity and dissonance that is well known from old-school death metal records. The record creates an atmosphere of perpetual darkness, in which the listener can only lose themselves further.
“Ashes in Bloom” is the title of the track that describes the sound of the album all too well. The song starts off with blast beats and a Deafheaven-esque riff that builds the atmosphere. While most of the progressions are fairly dissonant and droning, the overall tone of the track is very bright and almost ethereal. The lead melody at the beginning of the song sets in at half speed, creating a repulsive progression in contrast to the background. As the sound drowns out a bit the vocals set in over the, now mellow, background. They reminded me quite a lot of Behemoth’s vocal style. The song picks up speed after the vocal section and blows up into a continually growing drone-like atmosphere over which a heavily dissonant or even shrill Gorguts style riff is played. As the song drowns the listener more and more in the dark and big sounding background riff, the drums are blasting away at full speed. The song feels like it could escalate any second now but the tension is brought down by the sudden stop of the blast beats, as the vocals set back in. A slow motion effect sets in as the drums now play at half speed and the track gains room and ambience back. These guys definitely know how to create tension and atmosphere. The biggest surprise in “Ashes in Bloom” was the clean vocals. Setting in at around the five minute mark and being sung over one of the faster parts in the song, the vocals seem to ascend over the chaotic atmosphere below. They sounded full and very rich, not at all out of place or not fitting.
As we go through the album another track that definitely will catch your intention is “Mara’s Choir”. Why, you ask? Because it is only one and half a minute long. This is quite atypical for this record. That is because this is the introduction for the song “Vessel”. “Mara’s Choir” is used as an adhesive to make the songs blend in together. It is the ambient intro to “Vessel”, one of the hardest tracks on this LP, to not slow the song down or take any of its raw energy away. And when I say that “Vessel” has a lot of raw energy, that might even be an understatement. It’s gritty, it’s dark and it is the song that pulls the album forward like a freight train after the ambience has soothed you.
DÉPARTE really created an atmospheric, dark and complex masterpiece with this record. While it certainly does not have everything, the band uses every stylistic device exceptionally well and is able to combine atmosphere and fast technicality seemingly effortless. The production is fine and the overall tone can sometimes be a little irritating if one is not used to the typical death metal production style. I would love to hear more from DÉPARTE and in the meantime, I’m definitely enjoying Failure, Subside.
Score: 9.5 / 10
Notable Tracks: “Vessel”, “Ashes in Bloom”, “Ruin”
FFO: Ulcerate, Deafheaven