Review Summary: 1992: The debris from the fall of the Berlin wall solidifies most unexpectedly to form an underground tech-thrash masterpiece.
Early 90’s was a rough time for new metal bands to come out to the surface and make a stand. Even rougher for bands like Depressive Age, dedicated at making quirky, frenzied metal music. Not accounting for ANY musical trend for the few years existing as a band, Depressive Age excelled in their bizarre metal domain, gaining critical acclaim mostly in the underground. “First Depression” is the band’s first album.
If someone listens to the band’s debut for the first time, without knowing it’s their first, he/she will instantly (and erroneously) assume that the band has recorded several albums in the past and that this album is the outcome of a long-time progression forward. The level of musicianship on this record is top-notch hands down, although we are talking about a first effort here. Musically speaking, it may seem at first that the band is into plain speed/thrash metal, but eventually it becomes clear that all instruments (two guitars, bass, drums, vocals) “talk” to each other in the background, weaving remarkable tech-thrash song structures.
The two guitars – played by Jochen Klemp and Ingo Grigoleit – are in a constant riot, exchanging riffs and solos, making the listener act like he is inside a violent mosh pit. The solos are diverse and mind-blowing. Sometimes they sound like a classical solo violin on fire, whereas at times they are like listening to a demented person’s monologue. The rhythm section - Norbert Drescher at drums and Tim Schallenberg on bass - stands without a flaw, fully endorsing the sudden time signature changes throughout the songs, while copiously following the two guitars’ frenzied course.
The vocals are clearly a love-or-hate case. They sound punkish, with the infamous German accent all over the place, while at times they are awful on purpose. To be crystal clear, Jan Lubitski’s vocals are a similar (yet quirkier) case to Dennis Belanger’s vocals from Voivod.
The album has a decent "old school" production, as it’s the early 90’s and we’re talking about an underground metal band. Every instrument is sounding as it should (although the sound of drums could have more depth), while the mixing is done fairly well.
As a conclusion, “First Depression” is an astonishing tech-thrash album, waiting to be discovered. Better late than never, they say.
The whole record. But every time I listen to “Never be blind” I thrash my body against the walls.