What’s with these Aussies sending us cool shit? They must be stoked about that rugby victory over the All Blacks over the weekend. YES, I know about that. You shouldn’t be so surprised considering this is the Rick Steves of metal blogs. Now class, I want you all to meet Deprivation. Now play nice cause these New South Wales lads have churned out one hell of a record, released it themselves and are now giving it to you for free on Bandcamp. Their new album Amalagam is marked by melodic death and metalcore riffing, well timed guitar solos, grooves, breakdowns and a solid vocal performance. There’s some Dark Tranquility and Darkest Hour in there with a double dose of Pantera but it’s professional transitions and the aptly placed melodic death elements that give the band an identity among the groove/metalcore masses.
The first few tracks are built for speed as exemplified by the crushing “Fall Of The Mercury”. About five tracks in, “This Dark Embrace” churns with its initial riff and you just know its going to decay into another predictable groove/core breakdown, as is the case for most whippersnappers nowawdays. Instead it pushes into an almost Southern-like fretboard crawl and driving rythym. The solos throughout are well placed and melodic, while the riffs are punishing and often discordant. “Blood Money” features a main riff that would fit into a Gotherburg or modern metal record and descends into a pretty punishing chorus. I also have to give drummer Albie Bevan credit here for building his pattern tightly around the guitar solo. It’s a nice touch and should be showcased more, seeing as drummers and guitarists aspire to tight playing in these genres. If breakdowns are your thing “Replicating The Seed”, has one of the best tempo change breakdowns I’ve heard in a while, following by some blastbeats and tremolo riffing. The band’s cornerstone seems to be smooth transitions between elements of the different genres they draw inspiration from.
Vocalist Ben Weber occasionally does a great Phil Anselmo impression, which I mean as a compliment, since many core or groove vocalists usually alternate dull screams with vomit-like higher pitches. I also like it when he says “fuck” real loud towards the end of “deceiver”. It’s cool because it doesn’t seem like it’s part of the lyrics, it just seems like Ben was so pissed that he had to express himself, another Phil-esque moment. Though he doesn’t switch it up much, there is enough inflection here to keep things interesting. At times the songs often remind me of Carnal Forge without the tongue-in-cheek lyrics, opting instead for what seem to be revelation-esque tales of humanity’s downfall. Neat! When I think I have it all figured out, “All Hail The Dead” breaks out as the catchiest groovefest on the album. These two along with “Fall of Mercury” are the highlights of the album. Occasionally, the riffing could use a change-up or just a shortening of the song to ad variation to the album. However, considering the band is still unsigned, the content of the band’s work should only grow richer. The professionalism is already there. It’s time to keep supporting bands that do this genuinely and offer their work for free.
Pick this up, good people, and if you live somewhere near, go check them out on tour in September through New South Wales, Victoria and Southern Australia.