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Deadspace - The Promise of Oblivion

The Promise of Oblivion
by Danny Sanderson at 12 July 2015, 10:47 PM

The sub-genre that has come to be known as Depressive Black Metal has become all the rage within the last few years. Whereas acts such as SHINING have begun to make a name by producing some genuinely dark, aesthetically and lyrically morbid pieces of music, many have followed in their footsteps, more often than not falling short of the lofty mark that their idols have set. There are some bands, however, that manage to get it right, and manage to make their own stamp on this particular strain of Black Metal. One of these bands is DEADSPACE, a five piece outfit from Perth, Australia. In the short time they have been an active band, they've gained a small following which is starting to stretch far beyond Australia, mainly off the back of the a split album they released in December of last year alongside ONOMY. Their latest release, and first full length, "The Promise of Oblivion", is a showcase of eight tracks that display a talent and style that might just see this band give the demigods of the genre a run for their money.

What I've noticed, right off the bat, is that, although many of the larger bands of the genre aim to create long, sprawling songs on their releases, this band manage to condense all their ideas into shorter, more aggressive offerings. The longest song on here, the eerie, dissonant and haunting final track, "In The Coldness of the Darkest Night", lasts almost eight minutes, whereas many other acts opt to have this as the average length of a song. The album benefits all the more for it, as it prevents the songs from being so long that they get stagnant or even boring; they only put what is absolutely necessary into the music, and leave it at that. Their sound, overall, is a cacophony of different influences and styles, from the rawer end of Black Metal, through to atmospheric ambience, with some catchy, Hard Rock guitar work thrown in for good measure.

The album's opening, titular track, for example, opens on a great piece of piano music that draws the listener in, before launching into a visceral, grim slab of Depressive Black Metal. The harrowing, shrieking vocals are a highlight here, and completely capture the emotional essence of what this kind of Black Metal is meant to be about; sung with passion and a theatrical flourish which helps paint a mental image for the listener. "With Tears of Callous Lust" is no less powerful than the song that came before it, with some confident guitar and drum work backing those cold, hellish vocals. Each track leads seamlessly into the next, making this a full on experience, and not just another album you could just stick in and listen to the odd track off of; this is best enjoyed by listening to it chronologically, so that the full weight of each track, and the way the record flows, is fully felt by the listener.

The excellent "I'll Buy The Rope" and "The Clouds Won't Shade The Pain" are suitably dread-laden Black Metal juggernauts, interlaced with some amazing, hook laden guitar lines and mellower, ambient elements, which together help to craft two of the albums best and most memorable tracks. "Oblivion", a much softer piece coupled with a spoken word part, acts like the eye of the storm on this album, breaking up the violent, sorrowful music of the first four tracks before the final three offerings arrive. The first of these three, "Schadenfreude", is called into existence with a wail of anguish that is hair-raisingly good. Although this song is musically more reserved than the first four songs, the vocal performance is done so expertly that it still manages to pack a powerful punch and leave its mark on the album. The penultimate track, "Pain's Grey", is a brooding, vicious, well crafted piece of music that really sets the listener up for the closing track, "In The Coldness of The Darkest Night", which tries, and ultimately succeeds, in bringing together all of the various aspects in the bands sound and bringing them together to make one long, brilliant and depressing piece of thick, palpable Depressive Black Metal. It's fitting end to an astonishingly good album.

Words can't adequately describe how much I loved this album. In a recent review, I said that no band has hit their stride on their first full length release, and may not have done so until their second or third release. This album has proved me wrong. This is so well written, and so emotionally and musically on point that this could easily be one of the best Depressive Black Metal releases I've ever heard. This is the sort of album that I'd thoroughly recommend to anyone who wants the definitive "gateway" album to this genre of music. It has all the hallmarks of this brand of Black Metal, but manages to express these ideas and sounds in much shorter, tighter and more palatable way than many bands of the genre are able to. It has the strident nihilism of SHINING and the raw, transcendental qualities of XASTHUR, but sounds nothing like either. It's its own beast with its own distinctive sound. And that sound might just be one of a band that could re-define and revolutionize the genre.

5 Star Rating

1. The Promise of Oblivion
2. With Tears of Callous Lust
3. I'll Buy The Rope
4. The Clouds Won't Shade The Pain
5. Oblivion
6. Schadenfreude
7. Pain's Grey
8. In The Coldness of The Darkest Night
Ben Stanley - Drums
Alex Borserini - Guitars
Nish Raghavan - Guitars
Drew James Griffiths - Guitars, Bass, Backing Vocals
Chris Gebauer - Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 19 September 2021

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