The best stories are the ones that turn back the pages of time entire eons, spanning generations and civilizations that have been long since forgotten. Stories that transport you to a time you might not have ever known existed—but nonetheless, you find yourself taken there, immersed in lands beyond contemporary comprehension—stories and tales whose reach is truly endless. Depths know this all too well, and with their latest full-length record, they create an immersive universe which surrounds the listener with an era of mystery, atmosphere, gloom and—of course—soul-smothering brutality. With Endless—a title that compliments Depths’ own name excellently in both content and imagery—this New Zealand-based onslaught combine dismal, dreary deathcore with ethereality and fluidity to create a sound and style that beats the listener senseless one second, only to revive them in a world far, far away the next. A near-flawless amalgamation of storytelling and sinister aggression, Endless is an album that, while it might not be truly Endless, might make the listener wish it was.
Endless is a ravaging experience that combines Depths’ established penchant for punishing, ungodly-heavy deathcore with a fresh twist—in the form of eerie, lofty atmosphere that surrounds every track. From the opening salvos of “Apophis,” throughout the ups-and-downs of lead single “Osiris” and well into the dissonant, dreary dredges of “Ernutet,” Depths’ sound remains true to their gritty baseline while still allowing for growth and development of their sound. Percussionist Shaun Anderson builds a solid foundation for guitarists Jason Meadows and DJ Fieldes to groove atop on “Ernutet,” while much of “Osiris” sees Anderson pummeling the listener with quick hands and faster feet, all while bassist Kahi Bettridge bludgeons with brutish force behind his thick, heavy bass. Anderson’s drumming is the heartbeat for Endless, in all its diverse majesty—slowing down to more ambient candors on the closing portion of “Ernutet,” and even during segments of “Shai” and “Ba-Pef,” while still adding more than enough machine-gun blast-beat laden intensity for fans of extreme music to get their fix. All the while, Meadows and Fieldes maintain a careful balance of groove-tinted, belligerently brutal dissonance while bringing a roomy, haunting atmos to every track. “Ba-Pef” is an excellent example—while one guitar rumbles with an earth-shaking chug, the other defies Bettridge’s bass and Anderson’s drummer, firmly fixed on high-fretted, hair-raising leads. This is a theme common to many tracks in Endless—save the songs where ambience reigns above all, giving the listener much-deserved breaks between the madness.
Where Depths’ instrumentation might have taken on a distinct infusion of ethereality, the vocal effort from Joshua Bain certainly hasn’t. Bain remains blistering and ferocious, causing even the most steadfast listeners to quiver. The ending to “Ernutet” might be the best single example of Bain’s furious low range and endurance, while “Apophis” and “Osiris” both are among his most lyrically intriguing—and, of course, every track sees him weaving in, out and around the progressively-tinted, atmosphere laden deathcore the band have to offer. Bain brings intensity by the boatload, using range, energy, endurance and creative patterning and flow to make the most out of the intriguing songwriting and musicianship the rest of his bandmates in Depths have worked tirelessly to craft—and the result is a cohesive, punishing juggernaut of a release that stays true to the immolating nature of The Mortal Compass, yet manages to sound very different.
Depths craft an atmospheric, immense record that combines elements of raw, ruthless deathcore—the kind they’re known for—with elements of more artistic and sprawling sonic beauty. The result is different from their previous releases in that it’s less oppressive and gloomy and more melancholy, ranging from highs to lows while still hitting plenty of the consistently crushing deathcore mastery the band’s fanbase knows them for. Endless is an impressive and ambitious effort that totally pays off, even while it might be a little bit too weighed down by interludes and ethereality at points. Any way you cut it, Depths have created their most thorough, creative and intellectual release to date, all without sacrificing sinister, soul-sucking aggression and misanthropy.
For Fans Of: Oceano, Martyr Defiled, Bound in Fear
By: Connor Welsh