Deadspace, from Perth (Australia) is one of those bands that started out as a one-man project in order to express many feelings of depression. It was founded by Chris Gebauer in 2014. Shortly after, other musicians from the Australian underground joined the line-up and a full-blown live band was formed. 'The Promise Of Oblivion' is the debut full-length, after a split with Onomy, and it's a noisy, brutal and insane piece of work.
In stead of writing hyper-speed, blast-beats fueled black metal anthems, Deadspace seems to focus more on a dark and gloomy atmosphere. Sure, there are the typical haunted screams and the slashing sound of the guitars but the tempo is usually quite slow. Genres like post-rock, goth rock and dark ambient are being brought together in a whirlpool of distress and hopelessness.
The album opens with the mid-tempo epos 'The Promise Of Oblivion', immediately showing the true nature of this band. The atmosphere is bleak, angsty and downright harsh. You can easily grab the deeply personal approach, both in music and vocals, as they are pretty disturbed, like a tormented person who screams for help with his last breath. The album continues in this manner, reminding me of bands like Forgotten Tomb or Xasthur, combined with some death rock bands like Christian Death or Sex Gang Children.
It's this combination that makes the album as stunning as it is. Many black metal bands adopt this bleak atmosphere but it's rarely as overwhelming and frightening as on this album. 'With Tears Of Callous Lust' for example brings more of this gloomy blackened death rock, which is perfectly suited for both headbanging and shoegazing. 'I'll buy the rope' speed things up a bit, becoming the most nineties black metal related song on the album.
But then comes 'Clouds'. Here Deadspace shows another side, one where all the previous elements are blended with something between post-rock and dark jazz. In some way you can see this as the ballad of the album but it's in no way less impending as the rest. I guess this is my favorite track on the album. Its bleakness reaches unseen levels and you can actually feel the desperation blasting through the speakers. It also mixes perfectly with the ambient-breather 'You Are Awake'.
Another highlight is the smashing 'Pain's Grey', an epic piece of depressive black metal, slowly rolling through the thin air and crushing everything it can grab. Driving on fierce, noisy post-rock like guitars and a lot of double bass drums, this track takes the album right into my personal black metal top-five of this year. And it definitely belongs there. This is an amazing album and highly recommended if you're looking for the bleakest of the bleak.