Deadwood
Picturing a Sense of Loss


4.5
superb

Review

by Jason Carne USER (9 Reviews)
November 26th, 2014 | 48 replies


Release Date: 02/14/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Eat your heart out Deafheaven.

To anyone who has been paying attention over the last few years in extreme music, it comes as no surprise that both the popularity and frequency of black metal records with a post-rock candy coating have been on the rise. Never before had the demand and acclaim for music of its variety been so prevalent as it had been with last year's album from Deafheaven, Sunbather. With its brightly colored artwork, uplifting melodies and polar opposite aesthetic to the soul of black metal proper, it stood as an unabashed beacon for black metal-lite amid a sea of gray-scale art and predictably derivative, safe records in a genre that is largely stuck in the past when it comes to image and message. Whether or not Sunbather will have a lasting impact or effect on black metal as a whole remains to be seen, but it's undeniable that the gates have been opened, albeit slightly, for a form of music that has been mainly in the shadows until it was thrust onto its perch in the musical spotlight. Other groups like Les Discrets and Lantlos among a handful of others have been doing this style of hybrid music for the better part of a decade now as well with varying degrees of success and with a bit of experimentation here and there (which sometimes loses the metal element completely - we're looking at you Alcest). However, there has yet to be a perfect adaptation and execution of melding both genres seamlessly that captures the cold, dark, raw emotion of black metal with the soaring, explosive, and climatic post-rock atmosphere. Picturing a Sense of Loss just might just be the album everyone has been waiting on and the first to see this style executed in a fully realized manner that takes the best of post-rock and black metal while managing to make something that is greater than the sum of its parts. It might seem to the outsider that those two genres on paper offer conflicting attributes by nature that can't be resolved effectively without comprising the integrity and structure of each sound, but Deadwood are out to prove you wrong and they most certainly will.

This debut record from the German quintet is about as impressive as they come in every facet from production, to songwriting, instrumentation and beyond. Deadwood manage to deftly build tension and emotion extremely effectively and with more grace and aptitude than anyone in the business. Picturing a Sense of Loss an oxymoron of an album that is both cold and warm, distant yet personal, and bleak yet full of hope; it has a frigid exoskeleton that isn't afraid to let you hear the vulnerable spirit it's protecting underneath. The post-rock side of this offering is nothing short of breathtaking and stands as a fully captivating adventure made even better by the howling and pained black metal vocals that often tear through the ethereal atmosphere and explode into tremolo strummed riffs and blisteringly paced fulminent black metal passages. The group effortlessly weaves these two genres together throughout its nearly hour long run-time making for a varied and dynamic experience that doesn't slingshot the listener back and forth between post-rock and black metal, but instead transitions purposefully and eloquently into one another. As massive and epic as Picturing a Sense of Loss can be, it never never delves into an overblown grandiloquent affair; it's a lofty album yes, but it is always grounded and inviting.

Where groups like Deadwood have failed in the past is that they attempt to be excessively artsy to a fault, or they have used components of either genre as a crutch whether it was black metal for extremity's sake or post-rock for a dishonest foray into emotive song-writing. In stark contrast to many of Deadwood's peers, Picturing a Sense of Loss stands above the genres they are rooted in, reaching skywards for greatness instead of being stuck in mud among those who never even tried to reach up. While this record is a nearly flawless feat of excellence, it wouldn't hurt to see the groundwork they have laid down built upon slightly with just a bit of experimentation taking this into a realm all their own that would separate them from the aforementioned groups altogether letting them truly defy rudimentary sonic classifications on future endeavors. Deadwood don't necessarily break the mold here, they just do what everyone has been trying to do for the better part of a decade so much better. This is an absolute must hear record that will likely go largely unnoticed to a community that desperately needs a kick in the r(ear) due to the nature of this being a self-released album with no marketing team behind it. With some luck and a little cosmic justice, Picturing a Sense of Loss will see its own time in the limelight and knock Sunbather from its pedestal of mediocrity while it towers onward to glory.



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user ratings (27)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JasonCarne
November 26th 2014


448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really want to 5 this, and I still might. If you don't get goosebumps multiple times throughout this record, you don't have a pulse. Full album available for streaming here:

http://deadwoodvoid.bandcamp.com/

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2014


6356 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

I was spinning this yesterday, it is a remarkable album indeed.

Digging: Aspherium - The Fall of Therenia

Vakarian12
November 26th 2014


3925 Comments


checked the teaser and was really good, will get on this

JasonCarne
November 26th 2014


448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Vakarian - Definitely give this a full listen when you get the chance, judging from some of your ratings I bet you'll love this.

Meads
November 26th 2014


1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Absolutely breathtaking. I love this album!

Amphoteric
November 26th 2014


2014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Whoa, someone reviewed this? One of my favorite releases this year.

zaruyache
November 26th 2014


7446 Comments


Thought it was ok. I'll spin through it again tonight to check though. With the ratings you've all given it I feel obligated to ;_;

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2014


10676 Comments


I want this very much but I don't want to look for it.

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry

JasonCarne
November 26th 2014


448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Xeno - I linked their bandcamp which has the full album streaming in the first comment.

zaruyache
November 26th 2014


7446 Comments


this is good I guess.

JasonCarne
November 26th 2014


448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Way better than good, but hey, different strokes and all that jazz.

zaruyache
November 26th 2014


7446 Comments


Yarr! I don't really like the too clicky drum programming, but this could grow on me. Def not as good as deafheaven but I really do see the similarities.

Marseille
November 27th 2014


1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Awesome Review!

There are a few more links, where music and information can be found:

http://deadwoodvoid.weebly.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Deadwoodvoid/
http://deadwoodvoid.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/deadwoodvoid/
http://deadwood.bigcartel.com/


OvDeath
November 27th 2014


1207 Comments


Great review, but this album isn't that good :/ Sounds pretty generic, typical and boring to me. It captures the worst parts of second wave bm with some nice enough "post-rock" parts but fails to do anything good with either of the genres. I'm still waiting on a band that can bring out some proper black metal with post-rock segments that are done right, done as actual post-rock, not any of this slow melodic indie music with a big build-up.

teamster
November 27th 2014


78 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Its decent, but their is other "same kind of stuff" that's better this year (IMO of course). Thanks
for the review, love seeing info about "lesser" known bands. Oh, be sure to check these out if you
haven't already.

Harakiri For The Sky - Aokigahara
Nasheim - Solems Vemod
Griefrain - Spring Illusion
Fen - Carrion Skies
Chaos Moon - Resurrection Extract


JasonCarne
November 27th 2014


448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I guess I and a few others are seeing something in this that the rest of Sput isn't. OvDeath - I could say the same for Teitanblood really (generic, typical, OSDM-worship), but they still rule - I even stated that these guys aren't really breaking the mold, just doing what everyone else is doing only better. Maybe one day we'll hear Emperor smashed together with Sigur Ros, but until then I really think this is the best the genre has to offer.

Teamster - Harakiri for the Sky is real cool, wasn't wild about the Chaos Moon or Fen albums, I'll have to check out the other two. I think our opinions on the new Lantlos and Deadwood are reversed as well, Melting Sun is like a 3.5 for me, still dig it a good deal though.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
November 27th 2014


6356 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

I second the Nasheim rec and I would also add the debut album from Entropia (PL).

JasonCarne
November 27th 2014


448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah I've heard Entropia's album, that's a real good listen. Just checked out a bit of Nasheim and I'm definitely liking what I'm hearing so far but I can't say I'm really picking up a post-rock influence at all with this, feels like another atmospheric black metal album to me that's just done really well.

emester
November 27th 2014


4392 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn dis is quality stuff

Digging: Ictus - Imperivm

zaruyache
November 27th 2014


7446 Comments


OvDeath should check Gottesmorder and the first Leucosis album. They're pretty good examples of what post-black metal should be.



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