Album: III: Odor Mortis
Label: Lifeforce Records
Genre: Black Metal, Sludge Metal, Crust
Release Date: April 3rd, 2020 FFO: Dawn Ray’d, Deathrite, Altar of Plagues
German quartet Depravation have been on the verge of making a name for themselves, with previous projects displaying a seamless blend of black, sludge and crust while maintaining a strong sense of atmosphere. This ability to blur genre lines was the focal point of their last full length and was a definite draw for this writer. On the second full-length, Odor Mortis, the sludge and crust elements take a back seat in favor of more of a focus on the true “black metal” sound, aka tremolo picking and blast beats. The emphasis on atmosphere also appears to have been abandoned and aggression brought to the forefront.
Let’s start by saying that this is a well made album. The musicianship is top notch, the vocals sound amazing and the drumming is fucking fantastic. There are a handful of truly great songs on this album. Depravation has been able to craft an accessible album with some very catchy riffs without sacrificing the aggression. Odor Mortis is pissed off and uncompromising black metal and the punk attitude shines through on almost every song. In addition to the technical ability the band clearly has, there are moments of fantastic song writing on just about every song. Some of the riffing is among the best that I have heard all year and the wretched vocals are top notch. Ironically, the songs are at their best when they slow down and the sludge and crust elements come through.
The biggest problems lie in the straightforward black metal parts of Odor Mortis. Black Metal bands are a dime a dozen these days and this means that you have to truly stand out in order to make a name for yourself. My frustration lies in the fact that Depravation’s previous album had that special something that put them a cut above their contemporaries. Odor Mortis is a definite step backwards and the album has the feeling of a band who is still searching for their sound.Unfortunately, the originality that the band proved they had on past projects is gone. It feels as if the band was looking to show a sound they are fans of, however, it came off slightly derivative and, more importantly, boring. Every time the album starts to feel as though it is going to settle in to more slow paced and interesting passages, in come the blast beats and trem picking and fuck things up.
This may come off as me shitting one the genre but to make things clear I LOVE black metal, it is my favorite genre of heavy music. The issue that this album has is lack of originality and lack of atmosphere. While neither of these are problems on their own, when you don’t have either you run into struggles. More than anything, I personally kind of just found the album to be boring. It was kind of a struggle to get through as I often found myself being reminded of other things that I enjoy more and wanting to listen to those albums. What made this review difficult for me is that I think it came across as me just completely trashing this album, but I do think it’s a good album. It just doesn’t really click with me.
Overall, Depravation are a band that shows promise, but needs to perfect its sound. This album doesn’t feel like the same band from the previous album. That being said, when Odor Mortis shines it really shines and when it drags it really drags. I think that Depravation has an amazing album in them but unfortunately this is not it. This album will probably be great to a casual black metal listener, but for the seasoned fan there is better music out there and you probably already know where to find it.
- Casting Fear
- Beug Dich
- The Endless Night
Total Playing Time: 37:52