London based Death Metal outfit De Profundis have made quite a splash between their three full length records and substantial touring schedules. The scope they’ve covered since their 2007 debut ‘Beyond Redemption’ is diverse. Whether it be anguished Doom, intricate Progression or scornful Death, they’ve always seemed to be in their element. With their new EP ‘Frequencies’, they’ve chosen to focus their inspiration into an especially grotesque combination of brutality, melody and atmosphere which takes from the dankest corners of Old School Death Metal’s legacy.
Proceedings open in grandiose fashion with ‘A Strange Awakening’, but as it gives way to twisting structures it’s clear that conjuring the vilest conceivable atmosphere is the aim of the game. The demoralizing growls, agile drum arrangements and hideous riff craft are akin to Morbid Angels glory days. Yet the off-kilter style of Atheist and distinct melodies not unlike those of Death begin to appear left, right and center.
As track 2 ‘Illumination’ produces its hyper-melodic imprints, you realize just how much Melody factors into everything here. These spiraling patterns continue to weave in and out of the equally dense ominous atmosphere. A mournful solo blankets the song in mysticism. A short passage of tremolo riffs and the most dismal ambience so far slowly rises and falls, finally fading into the next track.
‘Singularity’ quickly employs a similar coupling of melody and madness. The vocals seem to take on a particularly dense nature here, almost obscured at times. I more often find myself hearing Black and Death Metal infusions, such as those Necrophobic and Belphegor espoused in their early days. The production is deep and dank, capturing the sensation of Old School Death Metal perfectly.
The closing piece ‘Crystal Mountain’ is a cover of one of the most revered tracks of enduring legends Death. They clearly take many cues from the pioneers throughout, and they produce an apt tribute to them here. The vocals differ greatly from Chuck Schuldiner’s high pitched snarls, and the production is less polished and more beguiled with raw tones and atmosphere. Far from detracting, this stamps new identity over this classic, and signs off ‘Frequencies’ in style.
De Profundis have crafted their darkest material yet with ‘Frequencies’. Between the pounding rhythms, bass driven tone, melodic and maddening riffs, licks and interludes and vocals straight from the void, this tightly ordered unit have evoked a beautifully disordered and chaotic style. They’ve excelled at capturing the magic of Death Metal’s early primordial creations. Given their affinity for constantly integrating new sounds into their style, the future could yield some singular results for this British 5 piece. I for one shall be keeping a close eye on their progress.
Review by Sam Smart.