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Deathwhite – Grey Everlasting Award winner

Deathwhite
Grey Everlasting
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 24 May 2022, 12:58 PM

Anno 2022 marks the tenth year of DEATHWHITE. The ensuing years have borne witness to the continued, if not expedited unraveling of humankind and the world in which it so harshly occupies. The 2020 global pandemic — an event of unimaginable magnitude — has amplified the worst in us. Cruelty, dishonesty, greed, obfuscation and selfishness are celebrated, worn as a badge of pride as the world burns figuratively and literally. Lyrically, the new album balances the band’s harsh view of the world with themes of self-preservation. “The album’s lyrics were assembled throughout the pandemic, events that also included strife on the political and human rights front,” said the band. “As disheartening as these events were, they were hardly a surprise. The human race has had more than enough time to figure out how to coexist properly, but still cannot get it right…and it never will.”

“Nihil” opens the album. The tones are clean and somber, with light symphonic elements. Seguing into “Earthtomb,” which begins with heavy guitar and drum strikes before the entire track picks up and takes off at lightning speed. Settling back down in the verses, clean vocals carry the melody forward, with vocal harmonies and a sense of the magnitude of the pandemic begins to set it. It’s sobering. “No Thought or Memory” begins with a slow, weighted pace. The vocal harmonies carry much of the somber sound. The twin guitar leads remind me a bit of IN FLAMES in their structure, but the sound is gut-wrenching.

“Quietly, Suddenly” is another somber offering and the album’s themes are coming through strong. The song title might refer to the pace at which the pandemic developed. It was a slow build, but all of the sudden cases began to grown at an exponential pace, and without a vaccine, many of us where just sitting ducks to its deadly consequences. The title track paints the full picture…an everlasting sea of grey skies for what would become years without any reprieve, partly because of human selfishness. Desperate times call for great sacrifice but as a race, humans were not up to the task. Calm, and soothing tones carry this song, but don’t mistake them for absolution. “White Sleep” is where people start to get angry over the state of affairs, but soon realize anger won’t make the virus go away. White noise is supposed to help people sleep, but true resting sleep won’t be found in too many places in the world.

“Immemorial” means “originating in the distant past,” or more succinctly, “very old.” Heavy bass notes carry forward the desperate melodies. Is there something from our distant past that we can learn about the impact of the virus, save for the Spanish Flu just after the turn of the century? Harsh vocals accentuate the incredible loss many of us felt and still feel. “Formless” begins with more solemn tones…we are thick into the pandemic at this point without any end in sight. Those of us who are lucky enough to still have jobs muddle through the day somehow, but I can’t say it was easy at all. The vocals carry that weight throughout the song, like a stone burden tied around your neck for the rest of your life.

“So We Forget” might refer to humankind’s ability to just sweep these events under the rug, never to be revisited. The tones here are crushing and unforgiving. Like a constant rain on a dull day, you never really get the chance to get warm. “Blood and Ruin” refers to much of the fallout of COVID, which we are still unfortunately experiencing. Heavy bass notes carry the footprints of the dead. They are all around us. The blood is on all of our hands collectively. What have we done? If you stop and think about it, the onus might be too heard to bear. “Asunder” closes the album. The word means “to fraction or split apart.” That is exactly what the pandemic did to us. It fractured us as a human species. Lead guitars and vocal harmonies shoulder much of that sound. Is there really any coming back from all of this? Sadly, it will be forgotten in time.

Surprisingly, the band is from the United States, and we are one of the worst offenders and most selfish people when it came to accepting the terms of this global pandemic. I say surprisingly, because many of my “friends” were unwilling to help mitigate the virus by staying home or by getting the vaccine. I lost quite a few friends over this ordeal. It is refreshing to hear a similar viewpoint from my fellow Americans. Indeed, the subject matter matches the music about as well as any album that I have heard this year, and take note, if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. I am with the band here. Humankind is incapable of figuring this out.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Nihil
2. Earthtomb
3. No Thought or Memory
4. Quietly, Suddenly
5. Grey Everlasting
6. White Sleep
7. Immemorial
8. Formless
9. So We Forget
10. Blood and Ruin
11. Asunder
Lineup:
DW – Bass, Vocals (Backing)
AM – Drums
LM – Vocals, Guitars
Record Label: Season of Mist
     


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