Deadspace – The Grand Disillusionment Review

One of Austrilia’s most prolific depressive black metal bands delivers their darkest hour.

Right away I want to clarify that Deadspace’s latest record has the potential to be album of the year material. Without hyberbole, their new album is easily in my opinion one of the most exciting black metal records, not only of the year but also of the last few.

In only a handful of years, with the band merely forming in 2014, Deadspace have managed to put out a steady amount of stellar records from their seminal debut, The Promise of Oblivion up until the almighty Dirge record, released earlier this very year. It’s hard to say exactly what sets the band’s newest audio assault head and shoulders above not only their back catalog but the extensive competiton also, but in my opinion, it all comes down to the simple fact that Deadspace with The Grand Disillusionment just do atmospheric and depressive black metal so much better than their contempories.

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It’s hard not to be instantly floored by the ever incredible vocal performances of Chris Gebauer from the beginning as opening track ‘Inhale the Slime’ wastes little time in getting right to the razer’s edge as the aura of agony prevails. This is hardly Chris’ first time behind the mic, and his experience in other depressive black metal ventures such as Cancer and Veils of Fog have really worked well to hone his unique and distinctive voice as well as provide the confidence to use his extensive vocal range of high shrieks, wailing screams and even low growls to perfection.

The guitars are incredibly slick and ice cold from start to finish. Thomas Major turns in perhaps his most inspired riffs and melodies on the record and the atmospheric elements work and somber tone are very effective in getting the misanthrophic misery across in a way that amply compliments the pained vocals, occassional piano sections and reverb heavy drums beautifully.

In typical DSBM fashion, the album does not rely too heavily on blast beats and blistering speeds and the pacing of the record tends to favour submerging the listener in a thick layer of suffocating atmosphere that refuses to let go. It’s in everything from the songwriting to the production heard overall. This means that whilst you aren’t going to hear the most technical and exciting percussion on display here, what you will hear is a very smartly utilised drum kit from Herb Bennetts, proving in this case that simple and effective drum beats that work as a song writing tool first and foremost was definitely the way forward in writing this record.

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The Grand Disillusionment clearly has a lot to say and its the band’s most fierce record for exactly how far the lyrical representation goes. Nothing is written as high art, It’s a far cry from the poetry employed by certain bands in the genre, but much like the cover art, the not-so subtle and in your face approach works to cut through the bullshit and get straight to the point, in this case being that when they are going down, they are sure as fuck taking us all with them.

For an album so recently released, It’s stayed with me in a way that many metal records in recent years from much more well known and established bands have struggled to do so. It’s haunting and thought provoking in its premise and execution. In summary, The Grand Disillusionment does everything so well and is such a satisying listen in a genre that is, admittedly, flooded by a lot of poorer efforts. If Deadspace aren’t on your radar now then they certainly should be. If you’re a fan of Leviathan, Thy Light or even just extreme music in general, then this album truly will rock your world.

Deadspace on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deadspaceaus

Author: Aleksha McLoughlin

Current 3rd year journalism student at Falmouth University. Writer for Pit of Plagues, The Metal Experience and other music based publications, as well as freelance.

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