De Profundis [UK]
The Emptiness Within
The progressive extreme metal tag typically reminds me of bands like Opeth and Ihsahn, with these bands being some of the ones that marked my initial foray into extreme progressive metal. UK extreme progressive metal band De Profundis has over their past 2 albums displayed a constant improvement in their capabilities, and this year sees the release of their third full length album, The Emptiness Within.
Opening track From the Depths sound almost like the soundtrack to the intro of a movie, and sets a dark mood for the album. Delirium begins the album proper, with melodic death metal-sounding lead guitars, before giving way to an almost black metal blast-beat and riffing section. One then instantly knows that this is going to be an interesting ride filled with influences from all over the metal spectrum to be present on The Emptiness Within. The progressive elements on the album are extremely prominent, with tracks containing transitions into numerous different sounds within each of them, constantly testing and pushing the boundaries of the band members as musicians, and the band as a songwriting unit. While most of them range from the usual black and death metal elements, there is even a jazz-sounding section towards the end of Release, as a preview to how wide-sounding The Emptiness Within is.
Throughout the album, there is a dark cloud that constantly shrouds the music, lingering in the atmosphere, and this is usually done through the playing of haunting clean guitar lines in the background, such as on Silent Gods, which gives a contradicting sense of calm yet unease at the same time as the band suddenly shifting into more aggressive sections with little warning, eliminating the need for the usage of synths to enhance the atmosphere which could potentially end up resulting in a cheesy sound instead. It is also nice to hear how the band manages to keep up that atmosphere despite the relatively fast pace that they usually travel at. Furthermore, vocalist Craig also alternates between shrieks, growls and clean vocals according to the mood of the music, displaying his vocal range, and this can be heard on This Wretched Plague, where there is the inclusion of an almost chant-like clean vocals in the middle of the track.
The technical abilities of the individual musicians in De Profundis are constantly displayed throughout, and in particular Arran’s bass playing captures my attention, with his style being reminiscent of such bassists as Obscura‘s Linus and Dream Theater‘s John Myung, though slightly less flamboyant. The abundance of bass spots for him and the way he utilises his instrument as though it were a third lead instrument is evidence of his talent. Guitarists Roman and Soikot also display versatility in their playing styles, ranging from aggressive black metal-styled trem-picking to an almost jazz-fusion style lead guitar playing, all executed with much flair. The feel that is put in the lead guitar playing also enhances the enjoyment of the album, and moments such as the introductory solo of This Wretched Plague are particularly memorable and melodic. Drummer Nick as well displays his influences throughout, at times sounding like Mikkey Dee’s work on King Diamond‘s Abigail album, especially the play on the ride on This Wretched Plague and later, Twisted Landscapes. There is also the playing in odd time signatures that test the independence of his limbs like on Release.
To be honest, first listens did not left much of an impact nor an impression on me, and this was largely due to the production quality which at times sees the drums almost drowning out the rest of the instruments, though numerous listens later the album really starts growing on the listener.