First impressions: Admittedly I came into this album already being a fan Deathwhite’s brand of bleak and sombre Gothic metal. The Solitary Martyr and Ethereal Eps were both fine examples and unique additions to the genres on their own. So my expectations were very high. I first heard it in 2017 when they released it independently on bandcamp. I made the mistake of waiting to purchase it and it was quickly pulled from online to be subsequently released through Season of Mist. My initial impression was that they had refined the formula and created something more refined, more soulful, touching and organic, that still harbored all of the glum, slightly dissonant sound scapes I was familiar with.
Delving deeper: The album starts with The Grace of the Dark. A song that grabs you immediately with a strong mid paced riff, rumbling bass and pounding drums, quickly drops into a quiet section of plucked chords, and jumps back in with double bass and a very melodic vocal chorus that is haunting and states “I will never be OK”. There is a beautiful piano section that’s adds elegance to the track.
The second track is an uptempo song called Contrition. The main syncopated riff is something that Deathwhite fans may be familiar with as it’s very close to riffs they used on previous songs. Not to say it’s not an excellent song. It may be the most infectious of them all and almost radio freindly but has enough depressive tone and meloncholy to drown the deepest sorrows.
The album continues on its dynamic journey of ups and downs, reflective and despotic, intimate and reclusive simultaneously.
Guitar work that has wide range of tone and melody, subtle hints of black metal ish discordancy. The bass is mostly there to provide the beefy backing to the guitars. The purcussion is absolutely phenomenal. Just enough complexity, not overdone at any point. Vocals throughout have a wide variety of expression and tonality. Soft, morose, gritty, pained and longing.
Overall: There are a couple of songs that aren’t quite as memorable or impact full to me but they are still very good songs. All the pieces of the puzzle fit together nicely to form a shrouded portrait that is clearly defined, yet mysterious in its soulful, emotive undertones. The album is full of moments that will stick with you to linger in your subconscious. You will feel this one, unless there is no life left in your corpse.
For fans of Woods of Ypres, Type O Negative, mid era Katatonia, In Vain, A Perfect Circle.