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Depravation – III: Odor Mortis

III: Odor Mortis
by Santiago Puyol at 17 March 2020, 10:41 PM

Blackened Hardcore band DEPRAVATION are releasing their second full-length "III: Odor Mortis" on April 3rd, through Lifeforce Records. This release follows 2018’s split with ANCST and previous records "I: Praedictvm" and "II: Maledictvm" from 2013, as well as a couple of EPs. Fusing elements of Black Metal, Death Metal and some Thrash, Hardcore and Punk elements, this German quartet deliver a nasty, brutal sound.

Opener "Casting Fear" feels ready for war. It is brutal and dense, a dynamic track with a remarkable use of syncopation. "Fear" is an outstanding opener, with some melodic beauty buried behind the machine gun-like drumming and sick riffing. This melodic quality becomes quite evident in the brief moments of respite the track allows to. The layered, high-pitched growls and screams fit the music perfectly.

"Peitschenhieb" offers more boorish heaviness on its first half, followed by a more melodic section, a bit reminiscent of "Blackwater Park"-era OPETH. Some exquisite and tight riffing. Meanwhile, "Misery" takes on a Thrashy rhythm and more Punkish sound and energy. It certainly is a fun headbanger, with memorable riffs and skillful drumming.

"Beug Dich" follows a pattern similar to previous tracks, but takes a bit of a left-turn, getting more complex and melodious, featuring some arpeggiated guitar work and spidery lines. It functions perfectly as a lead-in for the next track. "Sickness" is a mid-tempo instrumental ballad with some lovely clean guitar playing and subtle cymbal work. A spoken word sample provides a disquieting vibe to the track. It builds and adds layers upon layers. In a way, a moment of respite on the record; at the same time, its centerpiece. It displays some truly memorable leads, melodies that get stuck in your head. The whole track explodes in a gorgeous heavy section, with chaotic drumming atop the melodic layering. It dissolves into feedback, noise and that lovely arpeggio once again.

Some playful call and response of the guitar and the drums and military march drumming provides a bellicose feel to "Amboss". "Arrival" makes the most of its fun syncopation and a tasty triplet feel that keeps things exciting. The bass really comes to the forefront here, adding a dense groove.

"The Endless Night" goes for a little classic Heavy Metal melodrama on its intro. Its catchy main riff keeps you listening, as the song shifts through several sections and moods. It sets into a nice, almost waltzing touch for its final part.

DEPRAVATION saves the biggest surprise, and possibly the best one, for the last. Mysterious, reverb-laden cleans and haunting singing set the mood for closer "Nothingness". A menacing vibe that still fits the folksy feel of the track. Vocal harmonies go into a chanting direction. This final track feels nothing like what came before, and somehow stands out in a harsh and heavy record. Its hypnotizing and never feels almost seven minutes long. Slowly building towards the end, it never truly explodes yet the impact of some subtle percussion and harmonized vocals hits you in the guts. Transcendental, poignant, and just slightly unsettling.

"III: Odor Mortis" is a solid and interesting record even if its first half gets a little repetitive at times. Although the vocals fit the music and mood perfectly, they could use a little more variation as it ends up feeling quite monotone, especially on the more straightforward sections of the record.

Still, my biggest gripe with it has to be with the drum tone, a bit too dry at times. Mostly with cymbals being simply too bright and noisy, to the point of being a little distracting from everything else. Otherwise, the production is adequate for sure.

When the band has room to explore exciting ideas and display the full range of their songwriting, the album works better. The longer, more meandering and expansive tracks, such as "Sickness", "The Endless Night" and "Nothingness" are clear examples of this.

Overall, a dark and heavy affair, with some folky and proggy undertones, decorating a slice of strong Black Metal and Hardcore tunes.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Casting Fear
2. Peitschenhieb
3. Misery
4. Beug Dich
5. Sickness
6. Amboss
7. Arrival
8. The Endless Night
9. Nothingness
Line-up unavailable
Record Label: Lifeforce Records


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