On the back of their impressive performance at May’s Incineration Festival I decided to listen to the new EP from London based progressive death metal band De Profundis, titled Frequencies. Their technical take on the genre bears more than a few nods towards the progressive tendencies of latter Death albums, and indeed, the EP concludes with a cover of Crystal Mountain.
Right out of the blocks their guitar work is particularly impressive with a great array of progressive riffs with real technical flair. Shifting effortlessly from riff to riff through time signatures and tempo changes, the speed and energy is great. Where they shine though is when they slow it down and belt out some menacing chunky death metal riffs, pummelling along in true “Death” fashion. The great guitars aren’t limited to the riffs, with solos to please Chuck Schuldiner himself, and while energetic, they’re more technical and melodic than blazing with fury – they really fit in with the progressive sound they’re going for though. And the great attack of the strings extends to the bass too, with the progressive rhythms underlying the guitars, again being well crafted and forward thinking. The songs are somewhat short, and don’t go for the throat as much as you would like, with more technical riffs than bursts of brutality, but either way impressive.
However, the great work that’s done there is let down by the rest of the band. A low, raspy growl lacks energy,ultimately sounding lacklustre and dull, while the drums do nothing spectacular, mostly keeping pace with the music, completely at odds with everything else that’s going on. Coming off as somewhat half-assed it does let down the good work of the rest of the music. The production is also kind of murky, with the guitars lacking both the bite that could make it more intense, and the clarity which would do more to accentuate their technical playing. It’s too rough around the edges for the drums and vocals too, with the raw, dull sound making the lacklustre performance that more underwhelming.
When it comes to the songs, the pick of the bunch is Singularity, the opening section really pummelling before exciting riffs take over, melodic scale runs verging on the epic, before the solo comes in and really blows you away. Slow and technical, oozing with energy, it’s well crafted, as is the rest of the song, a solid slab of progressive death metal. Their Crystal Mountain cover is great too, played at speed, and with the band members evidently having a lot of fun taking on the Death classic. While energetic and fun, they do stick a bit too close to the original and ultimately don’t do enough to really make the song their own.
While De Profundis have the tecnhical ability, and more than enough riffs to impress a lot of progressive death metal fans, they’re a bit too similar to Death as of now, and the vocals and drums do let them down. Still, the guitar work is top notch here, and if they can work on their production and get some more enthusiasm from their drummer and vocalist there’s no reason they can’t get a hell of a lot better, because their two guitarists are seriously talented.
Frequencies is available from bandcamp as a name your price download: