Music can't rely on aesthetic alone. If it could, Derketa's In Death We Meet
would have succeeded in almost all the ground it covers. It's throwback old school death/doom that plays on all the conventions that have come to be expected from this kind of thing. From the presentation and production job all the way to the self-financed and promoted effort behind it, Derketa's first full length album in their almost 24 year existence should be a worthwhile addition to both their back catalogue and the throwback death metal scene. There's just one problem: the music sucks. For all its apparent strengths In Death We Meet
is an overlong, tepid illustration of how to make a death/doom album as boring as possible without straying into the realms of insulting failure.
Derketa have never really been an essential band by any means, and their previous efforts are really nothing more than above average all-female death/doom from a Pennsylvanian scene that had a lot more worthwhile acts. They were definitely worth at least a listen or two from genre enthusiasts, especially the 1990 EP Premature Burial
, which still remains their best work. But In Death We Meet
is an entirely different beast. It seems in the 10 years since their last effort (or 20 years since the last effort that's worth listening to) Derketa have completely forgotten how to retain any semblance of interesting songwriting. In Death We Meet
meanders lifelessly through each track without even the slightest hint at a coherent purpose before it eventually ends after a very long 50 minutes. The riffs (which aren't very good in the first place) do nothing more than jam up against each other with little to no congruency whatsoever. Each motif seems to exist as its own entity without having any relation to what comes next. It feels like a slightly more organized jam session that never really went anywhere.
Witchburned is easily the best track here, but then again that isn't really saying too much. It hints at possibly going somewhere with what are the only semi-interesting riffs in the entire 50 minute span but quickly devolves right back into the nonsensical riff progressions of the rest of the album. In Death We Meet
serves as a wonderful example of why songwriting logic is essential to make an album work. Simply throwing around ideas and calling it a song after 10 minutes results in a jumbled mess that goes nowhere and certainly doesn’t garner any repeated listens. What they do get right, which largely lies in the stellar production job, isn't enough to overcome the glaring lack of any interesting composition and songwriting.
While I respect the ladies of Derketa for what they do, especially when the large majority of female involvement in the genre is nothing more than a gimmick to garner the attention of a male dominated subculture, this time it just doesn't work out. While In Death We Meet
is certainly not the worst record out there, there is absolutely no reason to listen to this over other acts that do this type of thing much better.