Thursday, June 23, 2016

From The Depths – From The Depths

There are a lot of reissues of releases from metal bands from twenty and thirty years ago. Many of those reissues are head scratchers, like, you listen to them and you immediately understand why the original album didn't sell well and went out of print. Fortunately, there are labels such as Hells Headbangers, who are a bit more discerning in what they release from the past. This here little beauty is a prime example of that. I'd never heard of this band, which hailed from Cleveland, Ohio and was around in the mid-nineties. That was a tough time for metal bands because grunge ruled the “heavy” universe at that time, or at least that was the popular opinion. Thankfully this survived and we have this lovely re-packaging to enjoy.

From The Depths is a hard band to pin down if you are one of those people who has to put bands into some neat little pigeonhole. Look at that album cover. Even though I've stared at it for hours, I still lose the face of that monster/beast/demon. There's so many circles and eyes and horns and decrepit areas. The music is kind of like that too. It dances very ably between death and black metal, sharing both genres in the same songs, or with death metal vocals in a black metal song, and so on. One thing it certainly is though, is very good. You owe it to yourself to check this out if you consider yourself to be any kind of death or black metal fan.

The other cool “secret” about this album is that it features the vocal talents of one “Malcolm Judas Anthony”, otherwise known as Jim Konya, the longtime drummer for Nunslaughter who tragically passed away in September of 2015. He manages some crazy stuff, from straight up speaking the lyrics right on through several different metal styles. I particularly love the one that sounds like Gollum. Go back and watch those Lord of the Rings movies and tell me that Gollum wouldn't be an awesome death metal singer.

The album is fantastic right from the jump. The intro is a keyboard driven number that sounds like something John Carpenter composed for the opening credits of a horror film. This is followed by eleven crushing tracks. There is a wonderful, creepy atmosphere to some of them thanks to the very judicious use of keyboards. This will never be mistaken for some of those bands that have keys all over the place, but they way they are used sparingly, and only on some tracks, contributes greatly to the overall sound and vibe. “Autumn Colored Day” is a great track and is very evocative of the title of the song. I love when bands do that. And it also could describe the great colors on the swirl variation of the vinyl. “The War of the Captive Spirits” drops the hammer from the opening moments and is pretty much everything I want in a death metal track. I like the idea behind “Apparitions of Myself”, and it is a cool song. I mean, who wouldn't want to see their own ghost? This is one of the tracks where the synths are just right, and the rest of the music and lyrics are spot on.

This is a great album for the nostalgic value, as well as just a great representation of what underground metal was doing here in the US while not many were paying attention. The packaging is cool, as is the vinyl color, so if you're a collector you may want to snag this one. This release works on a lot of levels, so give it a listen.


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