Death Metal Underground

De Profundis – The Emptiness Within

by Brett Stevens
March 22, 2013 –

de_profundis-the_emptiness_withinEvery age has its conventions that set a target for those who aspire to success. When they achieve a fulfillment of those conventions, the aspirants have entered the elite and expect great reward to follow.

In our time, “progressive” rock has returned with a vengeance in the metal/hardcore world. It takes two types; the avant-garde type cycles between radically different riffs in an attempt to open the mind through contrast, while the jazz-type builds on a jam and then breaks it up with contrasting riffs to keep the jam going without becoming circular. De Profundis is of this second type.

What comes to mind when hearing this record is that Cynic and Atheist put their second and third albums into a room and nine months later, out popped De Profundis. This band mixes metal riffs of several different types with a cocktail jazz ambiance and plenty of delicious lead guitar, but builds up tension and release much like a hard rock band from the late 1980s.

The result is very easy to listen to. The jazz format is the most efficient for musicians, as it doesn’t require creation of custom song structures like other prog does, and it absorbs basically anything you can throw at it. De Profundis throw everything in there, from Satriani-esque quick pentatonic runs to dark minor key improvisation, and the result will enthrall people who like a high degree of internal contrast in their layered music.

Like dub or a really free-form jazz jam, De Profundis songs revolve around a central conflict that encounters interruptions which lead back to the theme. It’s the interruptions that are the main course, ironically enough, because these allow extended rhythm leads and leads that showcase the playing skills here.

It’s a slight to this band to call them “metal,” because it’s clearly only one of several dozen ingredients, but a wide diversity of metal riffing can be spotted here, from Swedish melodic to early black metal. All of this fits into a funky, warm, jazzy exterior that fulfills the expectations of its age’s elites.

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8 comments

  • Metal Command

    And this is where the metal “press” deviates totally from reality. This band is just a re-run of 1970s jazz fusion with some metal riffs. I realize that they seem to be big right now, but there’s no reason to call it as anything but what it is. In any other genre, this band would be exceptional. In neckbeard metal land, people are worshipful simply because these guys know their scales and can execute a key change without a chromatic fill.

    1. Blake Jugg

      Neckbeard.

      A very dangerous disease that currently can’t be cured. It will destroy your immune system until even a Macintosh can kill you.

      Contrary to what most of these World of Warcraft twelve-year-olds would define the term, Neckbeards can be acquired through any form of sex with a carrier. In fact, you don’t even have to have sex. Just sharing blood or drinking breast-milk (This applies to everyone, not just babies) can give you a Neckbeard.

  • Spork

    I’m surprised I didn’t despise this outright. Usually I like to pretend most “technical/jazzy” metal doesn’t really exist and is just some terrible recurring hallucination but like At War With Self this… actually feels relatively restrained and knows how to keep a song centred on a particular theme. I mean it’s pretty simple when you get down to it, basically a bunch of ideas leap-frogging one another but it works fairly well at that rather than schizophrenic ADD throw-everything-into-a-blender 2virtuoso4u wank-core.

    1. Blake Jugg

      Agreed that it’s a bit better than most in the genre. I made it 2 1/2 minutes before turning it off.

      I bet Death – Individual Thought Patterns and Sound of Perseverance are regarded very highly by this band.

      1. Spork

        I dunno, I listened all the way through and I think there’s room to improve. More focused songwriting, maybe reining back a bit on some the jamming, and expanding songs more like on “Unquestionable Presence”.

  • Sratovarius

    Brett, I’m confused, so I’ve a question for you.

    Why are you reviewing all these hipster bands?
    All of these bands would’ve been flamed to death on the Sadistic Metal reviews.
    What happened? Are you even the real Brett Stevens? Because pretty much all
    the bands you’ve reviewed lately fall under the “let’s troll the Anus” category.

    Are you sure you’re not Steve Brettens whose cock-comments get spammed
    blocked on Amerika.org?

    Consider this:
    Remeber the interactive-styles page on Anus? There are a lot of bands there
    that you set as examples of a particular style. Bands that are nowhere reviewed
    on the DLA.

    Why not write about those bands like Mythos-Pain Amplifier to put an example?
    At least your reviews would have a purpose again and it would save you from the futility of nostalgia! Anything at this point, would be better than all these crappy bands you’re writing about lately.

    Tell us for the zillionth time again why Tangerine Dream or Kraftwerk are so relevant.
    Remind us why Speed Metal is not to your liking by reviewing the old 80s bands that you try so hard to pretend you never listened to.

    Dammit! Anything that saves us from all these hipster bands that two weeks from now no one will ever remember.

    1. Spork

      Well part of the point of DLA is to look past surface level aesthetics/cosmetics and get to the core of a musical release. I mean yeah a lot of people who like this are probably 2deep4u Sunn O)))/Isis/Meshuggah/Boris/etc. type snobs who can all FOAD but that doesn’t mean the music is bad because some of their fans are scum. R U TOCKING 2 ME?’s Phil Anselmo likes Rigor Mortis and Morbid Angel but no way in hell am I throwing away the classic releases of either because of that.

    2. fallot

      If it isn’t honest, it will show. These entries all read like damning with faint praise. Which they pretty much are. Brett Stevens will never listen to any of these throwaway bands again, and neither will we. The average user will not be able to tell the difference between the Birth A.D. entry and the entry for the other ten second to tenth rate bands, which is a shame.