The Deadists – Time Without Light (Second Opinion) …   Leave a comment

I noticed the other day that here on Doommantia we have given some time to go over the bands that are now comprising most of the roster of Slow Burn Records: Talbot, Catacombe, A Cold Dead Body, The Death of Her Money, Somnolent and the Fading Winds/Starchitect split were all covered. One of the two bands in Slow Burn’s roster we haven’t gotten to yet is The Deadists, (we are actually reviewed them in 2010- Ed) a Swedish genre-bender outfit knee-deep in stoner metal.

Let’s get the classifications and likewise out-of-the-way first. The Deadists can’t be concretely classified in one genre, they’re one of those bands who don’t really sound like anything but at the same time, they sound like everything. The music itself is based primarily in stoner metal, that is their foundation. You get the thundering bass, minimal yet pounding drumming, fuzzy/thick guitar tones and stoner style riffs, along with throaty, hearty vocals. On top of that, some subtle guitar partitions and the way it can sometimes feel is a bit of sludge. Polish that off with that little bit of Slow Burn Edge, the indescribable feel of the band, and you get the music. The Deadists, it’s also worth mentioning, are one of those stoner-based bands who find their strength in repetition rather than variation – this is a little bit of a minus for them, as the passages are often too clear-cut to offer any true dynamism. Which is where the vocals come in – they are usually monotonal, in that there is a set form cutting between the John Baizley-esque neutral “shout-sing” and the growling vocal style, but Joacim’s ability to have his voice rise or fall in tone makes all the difference in the world. Of course, this means you only hear pieces of what he’s singing.

However, regrettably, whereas stoner genres are usually instrumentally based, The Deadists aren’t – there aren’t long, drawn-out instrumental passages, which does wonders for me since I don’t like instrumentals, but might turn off quite a few others. There is also a very notable absence of solos, as in, you will hear no guitar solos; there are small passages resembling solos, but aren’t, not by a long shot. That, coupled with the polished, clean-cut, Slow Burn-edge production creates a bit of lack in the album. Just look at the cover image, and combine it with the fact that this is Doommantia and you actually get a pretty accurate picture of what they’re about.

Anyway, to not prattle on for too long… the EP kicks of with “Woven”, a nice track that will have it’s main riff, simple as it is, stuck in your head for days and it’s not before long that you’re introduced to the vocals. It’s a mid-tempo opener, not too exciting, but is a basic example of The Deadists’ sound. Next up is where they display their sludge influences a little bit more, “Human Stain” which has a likewise catchy main riff, some more prominent drumming that often makes itself known, and some pretty sludgy passages that churn onwards while tuning lower and lower at each turn. Interesting thing about this one is that the riff is faster, but the song keeps to mid-tempo, even with double bass drums pounding on. Following that up is “Infinite Self”, which kicks off bright and mysterious, but churns and lumbers on like a slow monument on parade, the vocals setting the tones higher than they actually are and offering nice bit of variety.

Next up is “Deeper Within.” It is deeper, alright, in that the vocals and the guitars start to literally drag the ground with their tuning, I mean, it’s at sea level, basically. With Joacim churning on with his vocals and the song being slightly off-kilter with it’s instrumentalization at some parts, it’s a solid track with more dynamism. You will, remember the riff at the very end, because it’s that easy and that catchy. The EP’s closer, “Chase the Giving” has some interesting vocals at one point, but is mostly hard-hitting, chopped-up riffs exhibiting the same groove as before, but managing somehow to groove a bit more. It’s plagued by the same extreme compartmentalization of partitions and passages, however. The Deadists do shake that up a bit by raising the tempo for real for the first time in the album towards the end of it. Then, after a few minutes of eerie sound clips that freak the living spirits out of me each time, the bonus track “Blizzard of Nails” kicks in. Which is a little more visceral to say the least, the production values are a little lower, and it feels like it was born from a studio session and wasn’t polished. It’s not anything special, though, and it doesn’t offer anything new. Perhaps that’s the issue throughout the EP, that every song is The Deadists, but that just means they’re more of the same every time.

In short? Well, this is an above-average release, to be sure, but it’s one of those albums where, although nothing in particular is exactly wrong with it, it’s just… off. Maybe it’s that they haven’t managed to come to full potential, maybe it’s the over-polished production or lack of solos, or that everything is compartmentalized too much, maybe the vocals are too monotonous at times, or maybe it’s just nothing but that inexplicable “something.” In all cases, it’s worth listening to, though it might take some getting used to and is not the be-all, end-all of stoner-based genre-benders. Give it a go, though. 7/10
Review Written By Sarp Esin

The Deadists @ MySpace


Posted May 29, 2011 by doommantia in The Deadists

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