The earliest years of London based death metal band De Profundis largely landed upon deaf and undeserving ears as they were classified as “doom metal” and shrugged off despite thier strong take on progressive death/doom influenced by pre-‘Still Life’ Opeth. Their first full-length ‘Beyond Recognition’ was a mid-paced and subdued record with prominent bass work by Aleksej Obradović, current bassist of Pantheist and, though the band would swap out bassists as often as logo designs, strong bass tone and virtuosity remains a constant throughout their discography. The band would strike an even more ambitious progressive performance on ‘A Bleak Reflection’ in 2010, an album absolutely cluttered with melodic black/death/doom aesthetics aimed at a progressive metal crowd. It was a turning point for the band, who seemed to understand that their long-winded compositions were demanding too much of the listener and not delivering enough interest. The follow-up, ‘The Emptiness Within’, was the thickest and most concentrated essence of De Profundis‘ core progressive melodic death metal ethos and as a result their most memorable full-length, up to that point, and it’s style defined their melodic-leaning output since.
That isn’t to say that De Profundis stagnated suddenly, in fact the Atheist and Death influences exploded purposefully on the ‘Frequencies’ EP in 2014 culminating in a cover of ‘Crystal Mountain’. It was my induction into the band’s timeline and I more-or-less discovered their discography in reverse from there. At that point the guitar duo of Soikot Sengupta and Paul Nazarkardeh had solidified as the band’s greatest strength; Their old school sensibilities combined with precise technique hasn’t let up since and reaches new points of excitement on ‘The Blinding Light of Faith’. In fact if you are expecting something exactingly similar to their brilliant 2015 full-length ‘Kingdom of the Blind’ expect the same tightened rhythmic prog-death but almost none of the black metal edges.
‘The Blinding Light of Faith’ puts it’s entire heft into propulsive technical death metal that boldly swerves towards late 90’s melodic death metal tangents (“Opiate for the Masses”) to great effect. The voicing within their rhythm guitar work has found a space beyond that of Floridian and Swedish innovation and combines aggression in tandem with melodic counter-positioning for shockingly effective riff-work. If you felt like ‘Kingdom of the Blind’ was “almost there” in then it is worth noting that they’re “there” on this latest album. Between the coiling fretless basslines and eruptive guitar precision that dominate De Profundis‘ sound Craig Land‘s vocals have taken a more melodeath-appropriate tone and his more guttural expression on the previous album takes a half-step to the background. I found myself missing that previous tone throughout but I understand why it might have clashed with the tautness of ‘The Blinding Light of Faith’ and it’s melodic riff-forward approach.
Despite the fact that De Profundis have made relatively bold movements in terms of sound and structure over their discography I was surprised that the impression I was left with was that ‘The Blinding Light of Faith’ is, at it’s heart, a melodic death metal album performed and arranged by a Cynic/Atheist capable progressive extreme metal band. I found myself leaving it on repeat for hours and hours as it was satisfying both my interest in pompous melodeath groups like Sins of Omission and Eucharist but with instrumentation on par with modern prog-death groups like Sutrah. ‘The Blinding Light of Faith’ is a clear standout in 2018 for it’s ability to express the aggressive precision of technical/progressive death metal while using the grandiose strength of thoughtful melodic death metal progressions to captivate the impulse of further listening. Because of this, the record feels equal parts throwback and forward-thinking resting into a warmly alluring nest of clever variation and bombastic death metal theatrics. Lends itself extremely well to repeat listening.
|Released||May 10, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow De Profundis on Facebook|
In this age of darkness. 4.0/5.0
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