A multifaceted, minimalist approach to post-black metal

Départe’s Failure, Subside represents an intriguing and rewarding listen.

They take a multifaceted, minimalist approach to post-black metal that sees them weigh their musical balance upon the heaviness of the emotion their music conveys. They skilfully weave together black metal, death metal and blasts of outright noise to create their sound.

The use of emotion impacts well; case in point, track two ‘Ashes in Bloom’. They create a tense atmosphere of intense drumming, calculated riffs, and tortured growls. How do they cap off this atmosphere? By throwing in an unexpected, welcome twist. Soaring clean vocals lurch out. It’s quite a compelling few minutes, one that means ‘Ashes in Bloom’ feels quite shorter than its nine minute running time.

The length of these tracks is something that more often than not works in Départe’s favour. Take ‘Wither’ the length of the track is devoted to building a minimalistic atmosphere that sets the tone.

Conversely, I feel that sometimes their shorter tracks (like ‘Seas of Glass’ and ‘Mara’s Choir’) serve to do little but build atmosphere. But, given their places in the track listing, this could be Départe’s intent. It works, but I feel that these elements could easily be woven into the band’s longer tracks as a feature instead of standing there on their own. Still though, this is Départe’s debut full length, and it’s a strong showing. If they can work on fluidising these sometimes disparate elements and sharpening up the conciseness of their tracks, I think their future output has the potential to be very special, indeed.

1. Seas of Glass
2. Ashes in Bloom
3. WIther
4. Grief Echoes (Golden Scars)
5. Mara’s Choir
6. Vessel
7. Ruin