Depth – Memento Mori [EP] – 4.5/5
I long since burned myself out on Melodic Death Metal, well beyond the point that now I rarely find myself listening to old favourites let alone looking for new material. It's quite fortunate that I stumbled across these guys before I found the genre tag as I'd otherwise I'd hardly expect much to emerge from the small nation of Kuwait; a country that in my mind last made news when Saddam Hussain tried to conquer it (and apparently only really rolled tanks through desert and small villages who wondered what the hell was going on according to my old Kuwaiti friend), which seeing as this occurred in the 90's is a pretty damn long time ago. And yet here we are, enjoying what could well be the finest up and coming band to emerge from the region.
But first let me clarify precisely what I mean by “Melodic Death Metal:” this isn't a band like the sort you'd find around in the West nowadays, recycling 'At the Gates' riffs whilst rasping, forgetting that the genre contains the term “Death Metal” for a damn good reason. Remember Disillusion's “Back to Times of Splendour?” Well remember it again; this Death Metal that just happens to have a strong melodic focus (and more than a touch of prog); that just happens to think that the guitar is too fine an instrument to NOT have a solo or two in each track; that dropping in soft Opeth-like interludes between the guttural growls can lend a sense of contrast to the track, and being the Middle East it would be blasphemy not to have a couple of regional feeling lines in the proceedings. And if all that wasn't enough, they start throwing around other genre influences like some sort of genre stew which would probably annoy you if the end result wasn't so damn tasty.
They have a keyboard player. He plays solo instrumental work in one track. There are Death/Doom overtones at certain times, psychedelic tones at other times and in “Necropolis” some distinctly groove-laden riffs. Sometimes they use tremolo picking and sometimes nothing beats a good neo-classical shred. In just five tracks there's more versatility and creativity than I've heard come from the genre in the last five years. Even the production is startlingly well done, made all the more impressive when you realise it's all been done by a man named “Sarj” (who contributes guest vocals on the final track) and I wouldn't be surprised to discover really consists of a small home recording studio in his parents garage (I still can't imagine recording studio's exactly being plentiful over there). If you play in a Melodic Death Metal band that isn't “Depth,” now is the time you should probably be hanging your heads in shame.
Highlights: Necropolis, Crimson Goddess