Deep Desolation hail from Lodz in Poland and have, to date, released two consistently excellent records – their debut full-length album, ‘Subliminal visions’, and a split EP with Fellow Polish acts Primal and Iugulatus. Nailing down the band’s strengths is not an easy task as Deep Desolation are a mercurial act who roam the blackened hinterlands between the genres of black metal, sludge and doom metal and even classic rock (just witness the solo on the opening track of ‘rites of blasphemy’) when the mood takes them, meaning that the music is limited, not by genre loyalty, but by the powers of imagination itself making ‘rites of blasphemy’ a deep, rewarding listening experience.
Opening with the ten minute ‘between the tits of a witch’ the band are on blistering form. Here they take every opportunity to flex their musical muscles with a creepy intro giving way to a frosty atmosphere that reminds you exactly why Deep Desolation are so highly thought of. The highlight, however, is the superb solo that ripples out across the centre of the song highlighting the fact that on this album Deep Desolation are keen to engage with the epic, and between the well-executed changes of mood and tempo that grace the song, and the well-hidden but beguiling sense of melody, they succeed on every level. Opting for a mid-tempo grind, ‘searching for yesterday’ has the sort of addictive groove that Satyricon employed to such devastating effect on their last album and you can see it becoming a favourite amongst fans, the dry atmosphere as thick as the choking dust of a recently excavated grave, once again reminding the listener that Deep Desolation are masters of their dark craft. ‘Intermezzo’ is exactly as its name would imply, a creepy segue that leads straight into the brilliant, almost Sabbath-esque ‘Blasphemous Rite’. Steeped in the misanthropic fury of doom and veering between a slowed-down riff that practically groans under its own weight, and more traditional black metal fare, ‘Blasphemous Rite’ does a grand job of summing up the considerable strengths of the album in one song, the fluid solos that draw the track to a close a particular highlight that strike the right balance between Pink Floyd, Paradise Lost and Metallica in tone and feel.
Taking inspiration for a writer who has previously inspired the mighty Ulver, ‘Mroczny hymn’ (which is sung in Polish) comes from the pen of William Blake. Explosively creative, Blake was a poet and painter of some note who was considered mad by many of his contemporaries, and yet his work has resonated throughout the centuries and here he provides the perfect inspiration for Deep Desolation’s savagely heavy, yet strangely elegant outpourings. ‘Cuius Regio, Eius Religio’ which, loosely translated, means that the religion of a kingdom’s ruler dictates the religion of the ruled, is a Spartan track that is defined less by its rampant musical approach as by the sheer, molten fury which permeates the atmosphere. This is classic black metal, harking back to the primitive days of early Darkthrone, and it is as powerful as it is hypnotic. Another highlight is the surging might of ‘I became your god’ which again references the militaristic feel of Satyricon, the dense music rife with invention and shot through with the blackest malevolence and you’re left once again astonished at the quality and power that Deep Desolation instil in their art – it is as inspirational as it is awe-inspiring and it leaves you dumb-founded. ‘Necromouth’ closes the album with its heavily distorted bass threatening to tear your speakers apart as the vocals reach new levels of inhuman savagery. It is hard to imagine a better conclusion to such an exceptional record.
Since day one Deep Desolation have had a clear vision of the music they want to make. Nothing is left to chance – the production strikes the perfect balance between raw, almost live sounding aggression and studio-based power; the musicianship is exemplary throughout and the atmosphere the band channel is unremittingly bleak and laden with doom. This year has already been exceptional for black metal with both Old Corpse Road and Winterfylleth releasing absolutely blinding efforts, and Deep Desolation stand head and shoulders with them, their dedication, passion and power as vital and as essential as black metal gets – ‘Rites of Blasphemy’ is a stunning album from start to finish – well worth tracking down.
You can listen to samples and find out more at www.myspace.com/deepdesolationband