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Depravity - Grand Malevolence Award winner

Depravity
Grand Malevolence
by Barbra Rose at 08 December 2020, 1:27 AM

DEPRAVITY formed during year Two-Thousand Sixteen in Perth, Western Australia, and on December 4th 2020 released “Grand Malevolence” as their second full length release in as many years.   Their original full length release “Evil Upheaval” occurred during year Two-Thousand Eighteen.   “Reign of the Depraved”, their maiden recording, found light of day in the form of an EP during the year of band formation. The album opens with “Indulging Psychotic Thoughts”, pre-released as a single on September 20 2020.   I will return to this as the review ends with additional explanation.

“Grand Malevolence,” the title track, occurring as the second on the album, opens with less immediacy–save that for which I mentioned about the opening track–however patience is not required, as by two seconds into the song, the listener’s teeth clench again, as a diatonic sequence of arpeggios (V / IV) descend above the tonic - and the band members brawl again.  After the initial verse - as the rhythm guitars together with Ainsley Watkins & Louis Rando hold on a rest,  Lynton Cessford & Jarrod Curley enter with lead guitars around the twelfth fret at the E String to drop in with nice whammy pitch bend - and singer Jaime Kay punctuates the sentence at about forty seven seconds with a guttural melismatic “Yu-up”, a-la Tom Warrior of CELTIC FROST. The diatonic sequential phrases happily recur - even in slightly different forms.  Raised on the classical sonata-form of Joseph Haydn that Ludwig van Beethoven would eventually further pursue and even invert, nothing pleases me more than to hear a musical motive develop - and recur later with slight developments - not a nice tune, but a nasty one–not classical but an immediate Classic - GRRR.  I own a baton that Conductors often use before an orchestra - I may just break it over my (bad) knee in celebration.

“Invalid Majesty” - the third album track, leaves no instance without rage. This may be a Concerto,  a piece of music  to highlight a particular instrument, perhaps, for drummer Louis Rando.   If you haven’t noticed his playing, you will by forty-five seconds into the song. At about one minute seventeen seconds into this, a guitar solo begins for about ten seconds; until of course, the song resumes just before one-minute-&-thirty seconds–as the leads continue without cease while the song continues.    I’ve always loved the lead accompaniments of Rocky George while SUICIDAL TENDENCIES played their heaviest of metal during the later nineteen-eighties.  Rocky George  would just play over the song - I’ve always loved that. DEPRAVITY is one instrument away from rivaling Hungarian Composer Béla Bartók’s nineteen-forty-three release “Concerto for Orchestra” during the darker years of the recent world - and darker still in Europe.

“Cantankerous Butcher” - another, the fourth album track, that opens with a fury - but then pauses for a moment of near reflection - almost in honor of those slaughtered by a “Cantankerous Butcher”. The leads in this song are without parallel in metal. At about three minutes and twenty five seconds into the song, the guitars arpeggiate while Louis Rando quietly rolls upon the cymbals. “Trophies of Inhumanity” - the fifth album track, opens with real thrash - drummer Louis Rando can land a gig with nearly any thrashy death metal band. I find the minor sonorities of the guitars to be pleasant- though I would not mind to hear bass player Ainsley Watkins play the speedier thrash while the guitar strings sustain a lengthier resonation of despondency; gladly - I hear this at about one minute-thirty seconds into the tune.   I love to hear the guitar strings resonate with melancholy dissonance, even through formal arpeggiation. At about two minutes into the song - it seems the two guitar lines enter into “a divisi” structure - between guitar one and guitar two (neither are superior) but each together do more. The guitar solo is intricate–more to enhance & please the metallic ear than to pretentiously depress it.

“Castrate the Perpetrators” - Lots of division between the guitars through the albums sixth track,  including that of dissonantly ringing strings through melancholy distorted resonance.       At about two minutes, guitar solo follows - and shortly after, another guitar solo follows this. The guitar lines grow increasingly ominous -sustaining a melancholy resonance of dissonant distorted strings - I am in metal-head-hell and I’m loving it.    I want to throw my computer, cut my polished nails & buy a Jackson & a Marshall.   I’m in love.   At about four minutes-ten seconds into the song-the guitars move to a clear heavily chorused arpeggiation,  like a moment of silence after a horrendous mass castration. “Barbaric Eternity” - The eighth album track has interesting silences, rests!, short and brief that occur at about fifty seconds into the tune.    Jamie Kay resumes - as though by an anacrusis - almost adding a counterpoint with the immense rhythm section–the entire band.    As I listen more closely, bass player Ainsley Watkins has been adding not only foundation, but also rhythmic but harmonic complexity.

“Epitome of Extinction” - the tenth album song - opens more slowly–with dissonant string ring, but of no less intensity. The opening riff has a recurring chook-chooka motive.  The guitar solo blisters the ear (but this is good).   There is a subtle rhythmic counterpoint by playing (just) “chooka” between the bass/guitars against the drums. Suddenly at about two minutes-forty seconds into the track,  the two guitar parts guitar divide, divisi,  between straight rhythmic (against the drums) - while a second guitar adds an ulterior melodic smoothness to the rhythmic counterpoint melodically.  Absolute Innovation!   Ansley Watkins adds a short yet quick - and I mean quick, unaccompanied bass solo - maintaining the incredible feel of the track.

“Ghosts in the Void” - the eleventh & final album track - opens with clean, yet chorused guitar sounds while the second guitar plays indistinct leads - creating the aural sensation of an ominous haunted setting - until the dissonance resumes.    I’ve spent the last two minutes with my eyes shut - thrashing my head while moving it from side-to-side–in hell and loving it. Check “Indulging Psychotic Thoughts” and buy a copy of  “Grand Malevolence” by DEPRAVITY.  You will not be disappointed, but will feel compelled for them to continue their craft.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Indulging Psychotic Thoughts
2. Grand Malevolence
3. Invalid Majesty
4. Cantankerous Butcher
5. Trophies of Inhumanity
6. Castrate the Perpetrators
7. The Coming of the Hammering
8. Barbaric Eternity
9. Hallucination Aflame
10. Epitome of Extinction
11. Ghosts in the Void
Lineup:
Jaimie Kay - Vocals
Lynton Cessford - Guitars
Jarrod Curley - Guitars
Ainsley Watkins - Bass
Louis Rando - Drums
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
     


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Edited 27 February 2021
 

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