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Depression – Ära der Finsternis

Depression
Ära der Finsternis
by Ricardo “Lebzul” Brenes at 27 January 2021, 6:38 PM

This record stands as the 30-year-old anniversary mark for the German trio DEPRESSION, encompassing a total of 70 minutes of groovy Old School Death Grind, simple, direct, without further aspirations beyond staying true to the style they love, not without giving room to a little experimentation and a lot of fun.

I must confess that I don’t recall listening to them before, so my first thoughts, from the band name and album artwork were “this is a doom band”. As I looked into the playlist, I began to feel doubtful, 30 song titles just didn’t seem to fit for a doom album, more so, when “Der Aufbruch”, the opening track began to sound, I became even more confused. I was actually listening to a very sad piano intro, followed by heavy guitars and a slow drum beat that painted a delicate canvas for the vocals to come in and smear it with the colors of grief, lightly reminding me of old THEATRE OF TRAGEDY. Then, the true-nature of the band revealed unto me as “Uttermost Belief” went straight into the Death Grind realm, being then followed by one of my favorites in this record: “Knochenfäule”; this song could perhaps summarize the entire record somehow. As I started listening to it, I was immediately transported to the very first time I heard BLOOD’s “Dogmatize”, the 7” EP version, I felt like a child again, headbanging to the groovy riffing of true, old school Death Grind. I like how the vocal variations (Mark Grewe, ex-MORGOTH vocalist spices it up) are backed up by thick riffing and drums that blast to the beat without being a noisy mess.

There is a bit of old CARCASS, PHOBIA, GENERAL SURGERY, BLOOD, GUT and many others thrown into the mix but certainly, they have their own sound. Most songs average 2 or 3 minutes so they are easy to digest, filled with catchy riffs that sometimes have a punk-crust edge like in “A Haunted Soul” and “Come On Over” which almost sounds like groovy grunge with growls, while others, deliver simple, catchy Death Metal without going into any outbursts of brutality or noise, keeping it simple, yet effective, songs like “Twisted”, “Grin”, Concept of Time” and “Changes” or “Blood On God’s Hands” where the vocals vary nicely, spicing up this fermented brew. A well-balanced mix of groove and aggression can be found in songs like “Existing Through Thoughts” and “Seelenseuche und Geweidepest” where even keyboards take part and actually do fit in nicely.

Somehow a surprise was to find a song like “Alone” (GREEN MACHINE cover) in this record and “Depressionen II” very similar in structure. Could I describe these songs as a Pop/Grind experiment? Hahahaha, who knows… you try to answer that yourselves… the guitar does not yield to a softer tune so it stays thick and grindy creating a weird, yet cool mix I could almost start to relate to stoner rock. After all it is all about having fun, and while at it, why not throw in a cover song from the almighty MASTER.

Some people actually look for things in the wrong places when writing reviews. Demanding evolution and innovation in every possible aspect, expecting musicians to get out of the comfort zone, break molds and always create something new. Yet why change something that already works? Even when there is always room for change or experimentation, when it comes to Death Grind it is all about fun in that sense, if you want to experiment you try something funny, but if you simply enjoy the true root of the old school style then there is no big secret to it, so don’t be expecting hyperspeed blasting, technical multitapping guitar structures and such (I believe there is only one lead in the whole record). This, is the real thing, bold and simple. It is perfect as it is and it requires noting else. This sound, this style, this purity of purpose has its followers and will forever do so, those who stick to the original sound, the sickness, the fun, and over all, the true essence of the old school underground.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Der Aufbruch
  2. Uttermost Belief
  3. Knochenfäule
  4. Created Reality
  5. A Haunted Soul
  6. Twisted
  7. Of Grief and Pleasure
  8. No Excuses
  9. Grin
  10. Changes
  11. The Ballad of Typhoid Mary
  12. Come On Over
  13. Spastik _ Gesang
  14. Tormentor
  15. Der weinende Tod
  16. Seelenseuche und Geweidepest
  17. Concept Of Time
  18. Imbecile
  19. Alone
  20. Existing Through Thoughts
  21. Master
  22. Coma
  23. Master - Madness – Overdose
  24. Depressionen II
  25. Ära der Finsternis
  26. Era Of Darkness
  27. Blood On God's Hands
  28. Short Song
  29. The Barbarian
  30. Eroded Epitaph
Lineup:
Marc Miekeley – bass, vocals
kai Sattelkau – guitars, drums, vocals, keyboards
Ron Sanders – vocals
Record Label: Rotten Roll Rex
     


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