Germany hasn't been a place that's often in my periphery for great new metal, yet Dark Omen Records seems to deliver more than a couple surprises. First Ancst, now this multifaceted beast of an album from Depravation, entitled "II: MALEDICTVM." If this is the sound of the German underground, I'm quite excited to delve deeper into this community, because these guys are putting a lot of current American bands to shame.
The album opens with a chant that builds to frenzied laughter, shouting, and general sounds of a wild crowd. In no way does this prepare me as a listener for the chaos that ensues. The opening riff on "Wrath" sounds like something out of the big book of Dissection riffs, which works nicely to contrast with the grinding headbang-ready verses. The hybridization of black metal and hardcore is done to an almost perfectly precise level here, retaining even my attention despite my ever-shrinking interest in hardcore. The vocals are raw, throaty, and painful in all the right ways, the music shakes the listener back and forth. It's almost impossible not to nod your head along or tap your foot while listening to Depravation's music, and this album moves rapidly onward in a way that keeps my attention so well. Anytime something has the potential to overstay its welcome, it disappears. If something is worth repeating a couple times, it shows up again. The structure of the songs is almost mathematically precise in terms of keeping things fresh without sacrificing the chance to enjoy a good riff for a minute. There are few things in this realm that impress me, but Depravation have done so in a way that makes me wish I could hop a plane to catch a crowded, sweaty gig. Fittingly enough, perhaps, this album ends with a certain familiar singing, chanting, and shouting, as if to signal the closure of the carnage, or perhaps inspire the more daring listener to begin again.
Snag a copy of this on vinyl from one of many places in one of many colors. You can get it from Dark Omen Records or Life and Death Records or download it for free from Depravation's bandcamp (or the mediafire link provided by the band, depending on how many free downloads are left). I can't find information on Sally Records, otherwise I'd link to them, so please feel free to help correct this lack of link.