Band: De Profundis
Album: The Corruption Of Virtue
Label: Transcending Obscurity
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: October 7th, 2022
For Fans Of: Carcass, Martyr, Live Burial
De Profundis are old now I guess. Their new sixth full-length release, The Corruption Of Virtue, follows 2018’s The Blinding Light Of Faith as releases from an elder band that are only refining their ways. While the band is remarkably talented, I wondered going into this if they would be able to follow up that excellent 2018 release, or if The Corruption Of Virtue would end up being just another solid death metal album.
Rather than operating in dark and murky caverns, De Profundis blast the listener with death metal from the mountain tops. The Corruption Of Virtue has very bright and clear production, which shifts the primary focus of the music from the atmosphere and tone back towards the notes and melodies. In a world where the only two options seem to be Incantation clones or blinding virtuosic music, a record where the focus is on the foundations is refreshing. This album doesn’t attempt any blackened, doom-influences, electronic, proggy anything. This is death metal that lives and dies purely on the virtue of the music it’s corrupting.
The guitars run The Corruption Of Virtue, and they do a good job of it. The opening notes set the tone: loud, brash, confident and clear. Even when the vocals are around, the guitars in the back are what makes this work. They provide a solid structure for the music and keep a clear pulse when the drums fool around. The solos fit well within death metal. Almost all of the strengths of De Profundis sprout from how they use these guitars.
As far as the other instruments go, the drums sound great as well. Most patterns seem to follow death metal standard pedagogy, but when the drums go exploring, some serious talent flashes through. The bass is delightfully clear and has an excellent solo partway through the record. The only aspect of De Profundis’s performances I don’t like is the vocals, which sound like standard death metal vocals with nothing special to offer. Overall, an arrogance comes through the band’s playing, one that benefits them.
On The Corruption Of Virtue, De Profundis give us some great songwriting. The band plays around with repeated figures, uses very specific articulation to give variety to their sound, and does plenty of other little things that I didn’t notice at first but that I can come back to later to explain whyThe Corruption Of Virtue works and others don’t. The band repeats or references linked riffs throughout the record, which both helps and hurts. The descending two-note pattern that starts the opening track pops up everywhere.
The biggest issue with The Corruption Of Virtue is that it just doesn’t do enough. While the performances stand out and the songwriting is clever, neither overcome the lack of emotional resonance and restrictive vision on this record. For a band that’s marketed as having “emotable melodies,” I sure have a difficult time feeling any emotional resonance with this album. They aren’t alone in this, I’d say the same thing for excellent bands like Bolt Thrower, but when your selling point is a mixture of emotion and aggression and I only get the second half, that’s a problem.
Worse, De Profundis falls into the typical death metal pitfall of not using as much of their sound as they could. I’m not saying that the band has to play 15.5 over 16 passages at exactly 341.1 bpm or that pure death metal can’t succeed or anything like that, but if most of your songs have riffs with similar feelings in the same general rhythm over a similar drumming pattern and with the same growling, and this isn’t a huge evolution from your last record either, you can only do so much.
The obvious counterexamples are bands like Bolt Thrower and Immolation, who play pure forms of death metal and never put out bad records. But these bands succeed in this space because their writing transcends these restrictions. Immolation have always written some of the best riffs in death metal, whereas De Profundis are merely very good and don’t do enough to make up that difference.
In the end, you have a record whose strengths are better done by other bands, and whose weaknesses make me slightly shy away from the record. But only slightly. Once I stop worrying about why The Corruption Of Virtue doesn’t click with me as well as I think it should, I’m left with a very solid death metal record filled with impressive moments and cohesive songwriting. I recommend this to anyone who has ever complained about a new trend in death metal. This is what you should have been comparing that other flashy new band to.
- Ritual Cannibalism
- Sectarian Warfare
- Relentless March
- Weaponised Rape
- Embraced Dystopia
- Desecrating Innocence
- Religious Cancer
- The Sword Verse
Total Playing Time: 38:30