De Profundis (United Kingdom) – Beyond Redemption

De Profundis seems to be a band absolutely intent on going against the stereotypes presented to them by geography. I can safely say that while De Profundis plays doom/death metal, they offer essentially no resemblance at all to My Dying Bride, Anathema, or Paradise Lost. In fact, the band’s style of doom/death doesn’t sound much like any other bands out there today. While doom/death generally goes in one of two directions, those being the romantic style of My Dying Bride or the more misanthropic bent of a band like Winter, De Profundis takes a very different and unique approach to the whole thing, going for a more grandiose yet introspective bent. It is indeed one of the more unusual doom releases of the year.

While this is obviously death/doom metal, much of the riffing seems to be taken from what newer USBM artists are doing. Somewhat dissonant, dark, and with a good deal of tremolo, these riffs take the place of nearly everything that you would consider as traditional death or doom riffs. The band moves between tempos of moderate slowness to reasonably high speed, and there’s a surprising lack of straight-up doom plodding like you would expect. The mid-paced sections actually resemble a band like Voivod much more than Candlemass, with strange, spacey riffing and surprisingly active drumming. On that note, the drums on ‘Beyond Redemption’ are much more kinetic than the majority of death/doom, with a wide variety of fills frequently employed, from snare rolls to quick flourishes of double bass and more abstract cymbal work. The bass, additionally, is a surprisingly prominent instrument, often playing radically different melodies from the guitars and adding a tense undercurrent to the music.

The riffing on this album is immensely hard to describe. Generally composed of two guitars, with one playing the bass rhythm and the other playing echoing single notes on a higher string or a separate lead, they are surprisingly atonal most of the time, and even the most melodic riffs get violated by a well-placed pinch harmonic or something similar. There’s little in the way of crushing doom riffs; they’re more subtle and intricate than that, with an almost NWOBHM edge to them at points (the riffing in the middle of ‘Nihilism Vortex’ is very Maidenesque, especially with the pronounced bass accompaniment). And yet, conversely, there are some really aggressive sections on this album as well: ‘A Caustic Vexation’ is quite intense with its blasting sections and growls. The vocals are another strange point of this release; mostly they’re your average death growl mixed with the occasional cleans, but sometimes vocalist Craig Land will launch into a depressive black metal wail out of nowhere. The song structures themselves are similarly aberrant, with sections ending or starting quite abruptly, though it doesn’t seem to disrupt the actual flow of the music much.

My general opinion of the album is good, though it isn’t a very instantly enjoyable work. The band’s lack of straightforward melody and more immediately recognizable elements makes ‘Beyond Redemption’ a harder listen than your average Swallow The Sun album, but it’s probably more worthwhile as well. This is most certainly not the album to investigate if you’re seeking romantic, weepy UK-style doom/death. Fans of Esoteric will appreciate this more than Anathema lovers. Though you should keep this in mind, I would still recommend ‘Beyond Redemption’ to all doom fans willing to look beyond the rather strictly defined conventions of the genre. It is a rewarding and deep listening experience with a long life to it, which is more than can be said for most music out there today.

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~ by noktorn on October 25, 2007.

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