Depravity – Evil Upheaval Review

Band: Depravity
Album: Evil Upheaval
Label: Transcending Obscurity
Genre: Death Metal
Country: Australia
Release Date: 30 April,2018

I don’t know if it’s the water, the kangaroos, or the reverse spinning toilets; but Australia has been an incredible source of music (especially metal) this decade. Enter Depravity’s Evil Upheaval; a 40 minute beatdown, inspired by the earlier days of death metal with enough style and flair to stand out from the pack. The artwork of this record is the perfect welcome mat for the chaos that lies inside. A satanic shaman shepards you and the rest of the herd into the pits of hell. Evil Upheaval is Depravity’s debut full-length album, but thankfully it lacks many of the common missteps of a debut. Depravity is able to put together a cohesive and heavy showcase through their incredibly tight musicianship.

As always, I must talk about the production and the musicians themselves. Evil Upheaval has fantastic production for how busy and aggressive these compositions are. You are able to hear the guitars coming through very nicely, riff after pounding riff. These aren’t just simple fast chugging riffs though. Guitarists Lynton Cessford and Jarrod Curly are able to pump out technical groovy beats as well as blistering solos on top of the already pounding riffs. The drums provided by Louis Rando (of Impiety fame), hit hard and really drive the songs throughout the entire record. There are double bass sections littered throughout this record, coupled with a ton of fun drum fills. The bass unfortunately gets lost in the mix on a lot of the songs, but when I can hear the bass lines adding a smooth rumble, I really appreciate it. From the quality of the compositions on this album you know Ainsley Watkins is bringing something to the table that is missing from final product. The vocals provided by Jamie Kay are your usual guttural growls sometimes accompanied by a higher pitched shriek. The vocals are brutal, and have enough variety to keep me engaged for the full album.

The opening track Manic Onslaught begins with an eerie introduction that finishes by saying “… All of the forces of hell were unleashed” from then the album truly begins. The song starts slow and menacing, but it isn’t long before the true ferocious nature of this band emerges. Manic Onslaught (very apt title) is full of fast-paced technical riffs, head-pounding drums and Jamie’s brutal growls. The lead fills and the guitar solo are a welcome dichotomy to the low relentless tone of the song.

The Great Divide is the centerpiece of this album, and  Depravity uses this moment to give Ainsley a moment to shine. The intro is an atmospheric bass-driven section, that is followed closely by the plodding drums and finally joined in by the rest of the band in a crushing explosion of sound. This track tends to showcase Depravity’s more sinister side of writing, but they do not abandon the aggression and speed. Jamie’s vocal performance on this song is one of his most diverse and impressive to date. The song ends with another face-melting solo before fading out with a final chorus.

The closing track Vile Defloration is the perfect finale to this epic beast. At six minutes it is one of their most monstrous tracks, and is also one of the most diverse on the record. This song takes ingredients from the rest of the album and concocts a very large and tasty track. The riffs in this song are technical and groovy. Tracks like this one and The Great Divide really help prevent the album from becoming too samey and leave me really excited about the future of the band.

In terms of negatives, there really aren’t a ton. I do wish the bass was slightly more present in the mix. However, the production on this album is extremely clear and I love the sound so it’s more of a personal quibble than anything else. There are also a few sections throughout this album where transitions in a song sound a little jarring and not entirely fleshed out. I would chalk this up to it being the band’s debut full-length though; growing pains in other words.

Depravity makes badass death metal, straight up. On Evil Upheaval they are able to reach the fans of old school Morbid Angel, while still giving new age metalheads something to be excited about.  For a debut full-length this is about as impressive as it gets, there are very few missteps that would leave me worried about the band’s future. On the contrary I am extremely excited to see how this band develops and I will be coming back to this album until they are ready to give me more!

Rating: 9/10

1. Manic Onslaught
2. Insanity Reality
3. Repugnant
4. Despondency
5. The Great Divide
6. Victimizer
7. Tormented
8. Evil Upheaval
9. Vile Defloration

Total Playing Time: 40:10

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