Review Summary: A metalcore record. Nothing more.
I was not expecting much going into this release but was pleasantly surprised. It’s pretty good. Now before you read further just be aware, this is 100% metalcore/deathcore. You are going to be getting blast-beats, breakdowns, cookie monster vocals, down-tuned guitars, and the typical attributes we have come to expect. In such a tired genre what exactly sets a band apart? I have listened to plenty of these records hoping to find the power and urgency that this style of music can rally, but most seem to fall flat. I find more and more, as I keep trying these records out, it always seems to come back to the basics. A good song is simply the best foundation, not a breakdown. Depths of Hatred show us they are writing pretty darn good tunes, even if the style in which they write them is just... well... done a bunch already.
The first thing I want to talk about are the vocals. Right off the bat I could hear there was more to this than some captain-screams-a-lot telling us about the impending end of the world. 2:57 seconds into the first song we get a taste. This guy has a great voice and is making good decisions. He sounds strong and confident, almost akin to a Jesse Leach. The next track we get sung vocals right out of the gate, and following a quick verse to chorus transition, we have a hook. A damn good one. You can imagine my surprise as the song unfolded in my headphones, “holy ***, this doesn’t suck.”
I must address the guitars as well. On the surface it seems pretty cookie cutter metalcore, but these guys are not drop tuned so low the notes sound like rubbery sludge. These guys can play, and just like the vocals, they are making good choices and writing cohesive and well composed parts. As one guitar lays a foundation, another creates arpeggiated atmosphere. As one guitar in my left ear blows through a tremolo picking run, the right ear hears its harmony. “Pulsating Rhythm” gives us so many great moments of power and an understated beauty. We hear piano underneath the onslaught which gives a brooding atmosphere to the second half of the track. The song is anthemic, powerful, urgent, and a little pretty. It’s been quite awhile since I heard a band of this genre do so many cool things in a span of four minutes. There is a breakdown in this track as well, but it grooves. It doesn’t reek of insincerity or come off superfluous.
There are more things to enjoy as we move into the body of the record. Synths and piano are sprinkled around. The vocals keep impressing track to track as well. We hear a solid hook on “Fastidious Imitation”, a really nicely written groove two minutes into “Drop of Red” and then unfortunately the magic seems to dwindle a bit. Suddenly we seem to hear the band falling back to the deathcore standards. The clean vocals appear less often. The grooves are replaced by blasts and nondescript deathcore grinding. However, there are definite moments even in these less inspired tracks that shine a little bit brighter than others within this genre. This record is definitely front loaded though... kind of a bummer.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, Killswitch did all this stuff almost 20 years ago. Maybe this has a heavier vibe overall, but the fact remains, it’s cut from the same big o’ block of cheese. Nothing here is terrible, but nothing here is terribly original. There are some really great things brewing here under the surface. This guy has a good scream I guess, but this guy has a fantastic singing voice. These guitarists might not be the greatest players in the world, but they can certainly shred when needed, and can certainly write some ear candy. The most interesting parts on this record are where the juxtaposition of the two guitars create soundscapes. Otherwise, it’s a metalcore record, nothing more. With that said, it is what it is, and personally, I didn’t think it was half bad.