With this second album having a Roman numeral III suffixed in its title I thought it best to back track through this German bands discography to see whether, if any, there was some sort of path or channel towards this third part but it appears the suffixes just indicate the number of the release. However what can be determined from this bands sonic output is that they epitomise the death and devastation through a foundation of blackened hardcore in their early days to the purer blackened strains of the newest opus. Everything about Depravation is terrifying, underpinning a swathe of obsidian malignancy that saturates their embittered song writing including harrowing sardonic lyrics.
The transformation from the post black and blackened hardcore traits to the outright violence personified are still present to some extent, due to the harshness of the vocals but also the atmospheric acrimony that seeps from every instrument. Opening the release is “Casting Fear” where the harsh and raw guitar sound is balanced by the equally abrasive vocal style hinting at the post hardcore credentials. The songs blackened intensity isn’t necessarily fast but is submerged in caustic ferocity as ”Peitschenhieb” continues the barbarity with half blasted violence and a truer black metal riff. The atmosphere is still one of ghoulish horror where the song conducts its malignancy through outpourings of malice streaked grief.
Translating the album title to something like “The Stench Of Death” hints at where this album is aiming at, that stench is riddled with corruption on “Misery” and Beug Dich”. The former takes on a deathly posture due to the density as the crust like beat procures an almost black ‘n’ roll ethos. That density continues into the latter with sporadic surges in speed tempered by grisly riffing and contrasts hugely with the acoustic opening to “Sickness”. Spoken words endear the song with sadness and morosity before it evolves into sprawling doom laden blackness.
The bands ability to craft songs with varying hues is adept enough to enable every song to have its own ingenuity and creative guile as “Arrival” opens with a bleak isolated riff set against a cascade of blast beat and vitriolic vocals. Those vocals really do add a level of wrath that makes every song sound so horrifyingly intense. Slowing down is penultimate track “The Endless Night” where the despondent spoken words are linked to the oppressive riffing and pervasive tempo. As the song develops it increases gradually in power towards the blast section which sounds chaotically controlled to produce a terror stricken aura as the album ends with the chilling but beautiful “Nothingness”. Utilising the spoken words appears again, like voices speaking to you in a nightmare the song is as far from the blackened hardcore as you could imagine. Instead the ambient macabre nature is saturated in despondency producing a song that wafts lightly at the listener but infests every sinew of your fragile soul. The slight echo and delay on the vocals add their own level of creepiness as the haunting funereal atmosphere is distressing and leaves you in no doubt that Depravation have indeed corrupted your very existence.
(8.5/10 Martin Harris)