19 June 2014
by Pete Long
With a new full player due out later this year, London-based De Profundis want your attention. The four song EP Frequencies is their means of grabbing it and to ensure it works, they’re releasing it for free. Considering the quality of their 2012 outing The Emptiness Within, with its Death-meets-Opeth take on Death Metal, that’s a generous offer.
De Profundis have stuck with that template with all three original tracks wearing their influences proudly. ‘A Strange Direction’ has an opening riff very like Still Life-era Opeth, and a solo that Schuldiner himself would be happy with. Guitarists Shoi Shen and Paul Nazarkardeh show a considerable amount of talent but the real star of the show is bassist Arran McSporren. He barges into the melodies at every possible moment. The mix of his bass and the blackened tremolo on ‘Illumination’ sounds a bit like a more polished early At the Gates at times. ‘Singularity’ shows the strongest Death influence in its riffing, which is when De Profundis is at their best. It’s all very catchy and listenable but it feels like something is missing.
The ballsy decision to take on Death’s ‘Crystal Mountain’ however, makes clear all the little things nagging away in the first three songs. It’s not bad, but it lacks the scimitar-sharp riffing and dynamism that makes Schuldiner’s venomous homily what it is. And despite knowing exactly what vocalist Craig Land is singing, it is still difficult to make out the words. There is a lack of clarity and punch to the record as a whole, and a stronger production might have improved this, particularly on Land’s vocals. The low end of the album feels jumbled together, and even that’s taking into account how it is given more weight due to the mainly forgettable shifts in pace that occur.
The lack of dynamics and venom could be the result of a creative decision by De Profundis though. If they are, it sounds like a mistake. The band’swork on Frequencies is technically admirable and enjoyable but there is nothing to wow the listener. It belongs in metal’s Coca-Cola Championship.
Sounds Like: A hybrid of Death and Opeth.
Standout Tracks: A Strange Direction, Singularity.