When the band are called Deep Black and the opening track is called “Nephillim” you make certain presumptions. My Merciful Release tattoo starts to itch and I can taste the acrid sweetness of snakebite and black at the back of my tongue. I prepare to search for cobwebs, change light bulbs and sow the seed in my blackened room!
Well it’s not quite bat o clock on this release. Deep Black are a duo from Berlin. Cain and K. Tonga have knocked out a Goth rock album with some metallic riffs.
Opener “Nephillim” shows some promise but the Carl McCoy gruff throaty vocals soon segue into a lycanthropic howl which grates on my crimped hair fall.
The title track has a nice dark vibe (as you would expect) offering up nocturnal textures like the homepride kings of St Evenage. Unlike the Neffs though the beatific passages have no crescendo. We are led into the dark woods and find there is an Esso station there and we were never that far from civilisation in the first place.
“Year of the Lamb” has Nine Inch Nails/Gary Numan riffs beckoning us in lie it’s 1997. I am half expectin Burton C bell to jump in and add his two penneth. Instead what follows is a pleasant enough Gothic pop song with hints of Depeche Mode and the Mish at their most Yank Rock. The vocals are pretty good on this track though and I am starting to be won over. This does not last though. Alas…..
After thirty seconds of low level noise entitled “Autumn” in keeping with the theme that permeates the album of travel through the seasons, “Like You” kicks in with another ode to Fields . This and “Some Day” just make me want to listen to Celebrate by The Fields of Nephillim which is not what Deep Black are looking for I am sure. The lyric “Whenever they pissed at you – swallow well and let it go” made me chortle though!
“Winter” is the final season instrumental. Just like “Spring” and “Autumn” before, it offers nothing to the album and comes across as pretentious as that annoying Goth we all knew at college with the poetry book. (Your name is not really Alice / Von mate).
“This Road” goes from a Nick Cave vibe to an attempt at Ian Astbury over some vaguely metallic riffing. It is like a copy of Melody Maker from the late Eighties is being assembled as a jigsaw in the dark.
The final track is called Truth and failure. I will tell the truth……… it is the latter.
(3/10 Matt Mason)