Review Summary: Success, Intensify
Did you know that Australia is home to The Blue-Ringed Octopus, which is one of the most deadly marine creatures in the world with no anti-venom to combat its bite" Or perhaps that bats the size of foxes are a common sight in the country" Have you heard that there are10ft long pythons able to eat crocodiles, or that the bite of an Irukandji Jellyfish causes severe muscle pain and psychological trauma" Extending the list of Australia’s own nightmarish beasts is a new creature found in the picturesque landscape of Tasmania: Départe. Unsurprisingly, it’s as deadly as the aforementioned abominations.
Sighted in 2012, Départe remained a recluse creature that only decided to make their appearance known earlier this year. While their debut album, “Failure, Subside” is repulsive in aesthetics, it also possesses a paralysing post black metal toxin, and a defensive method of mellifluous manoeuvrability, allowing them to slither from one genre to the next, establishing Départe as one of those ‘difficult to categorise’ bands.
If one word could describe the feeling that “Failure, Subside” encapsulates, it would be 'torment'. All seven songs have a sense of hopelessness and anguish, and the way that Départe delivers these emotions isn’t one dimensional. The large majority of the album is bludgeoning blast beats and trembling tremolo that befits the black metal tag. With the amount of chilling drama and cacophonous noise that the band produces during ‘Vessel’, it almost sounds like a Fleshgod Apocalypse song. However, the slower, eerier moments of this album embodies the tormenting soundscapes as equally as the thundering black metal. This minimalistic approach surfaces predominately on ‘Wither’, where simplistic sound effects, like still winds and the crestfallen riffs, exemplify this feeling of isolation and vulnerability.
Another key feature to Départe’s debut album is the crescendos that the band crafts. In ‘Ashes In Bloom’, Départe lures their prey into a false sense of security by establishing a typical maelstrom of furious drumming and lumbering death metal riffs, then they toy with their supreme authority over the victim, lingering on Sam Dishington’s scathing growls to extends the agony. Then, just before breaking point, comes the execution… in the most unpredictable way possible. Soaring clean vocals erupt from the darkness, coupled with Mitch Golding’s towering tremolo and Michael Rankine’s insane drumming. Here, Départe produces one of the most compelling moments any black metal album this year has to offer.
It would be too kind to call “Failure, Subside” a special album. Nonetheless, it is full of special moments. Some songs could easily be trimmed and still maintain the intensity that Départe build. ‘Seas of Glass’ and ‘Mara’s Choir’ do set the bleak tone that surrounds the band but the ensuing songs would sound just as monstrous without these songs that seem solely dedicated to building atmosphere. It’s songs like ‘Greif Echoes (Golden Scars)’ that nail what Départe are all about
: grasping the darkness and projecting it in a way that makes you feel isolated while numbing the ache with the slightest glimpses of hope.