DEPARTED SOULS - Barbaric Tortures (ANCIENT DARKNESS - CD 2015)
I was afraid that it will be quite difficult to stay objective towards Departed Souls, if the singer is your good friend... but damn, I am happy that I don’t need to lie “yes Rai, your band is cool” and “yes Rai, I like it” – especially as I’m not a good liar. So, I feel relief that Departed Souls did all the job for me and saved me from the trouble and actually did record truly fantastic EP, which crushed me badly and damaged me hearing for good. I expect now some re-founds for hearing repair, for fuck sake!
But few words about the bands first… Well, this is relatively new project, as far as I know it’s a dream band of some old farts, who felt bored somewhere in the Shitebeek and wanted to feel young again, by playing some crushing old school death metal, with a strong Swedish influence. Well, some years ago if you felt old and bored, you were collecting porn VHS or were getting a new, fancy barbeque, but now you pick up a guitar and play death metal haha! Weird days. But most of them actually did play in some other Dutch bands, some of which I even knew, like Lugubre and Salacious Gods… and two of them had a death metal band back in the very early 90’s called Sekhmet. So, they’re now exactly new(old)comers. And maybe this is also why you can hear very good skills and it’s also why this is such a killer debut release (OK, there was also a one song rehearsal CDR released prior to this EP, but it had such an awful sound that I would not treat it as a real debut, more like a too early ejaculation haha!).
So, “Barbaric Tortures” contains five death metal anthems, filled with great groove, D-beat, a lot of slow, doomy passages, some melodies, great up tempo bits etc. Yes, these are classic ingredients for the Swedish death metal and definitely this legendary scene is an obvious influence for Departed Souls. But I would definitely add also such Asphyx, Pestilence, Autopsy, even very early Death and so many other killer death metal classics, to give you a full picture of what “Barbaric Tortures” is like. More so, the music is just overfilled with hooks, memorable riffs, so it’s an easy listen and you immediately get caught in the maniacal headbanging, as there’s no other way to listen to such sounds. At least I can’t stay calm and just sit on my ass; I must bang the skull like crazy!!! Departed Souls also got a nice, powerful production, so the whole music is totally energetic and that’s another important characteristic, which I love about this EP. I don’t need to mention the songwriting, as I already said that there’re awesome songs, catchy riffs, etc... Each track is awesome, each contains these hooks, etc. but my personal favourites are “Witch Trials” (as it has some faster parts, but in majority it’s based on killer slow, nailing to the ground sounds… of doom!) and “Beyond All Knowledge” (total moshpit!), also “Fear…” kills with no mercy, with great uptempo riffs and even some blasts! Nasty stuff, total carnage! And yes, if you allow me a personal joke, the vocalist do sound like he was growling while eating meat balls haha! Of course I am joking. Great job guys, seriously!
So, maybe Departed Souls offer nothing original and sophisticated with their death metal, but they recorded killer stuff and it clicks all the boxes with “what I like about old school death metal”. I don’t need originality, I don’t need fancy studios and other shit to enjoy my piece of carcass. Check and support this band out, please! Damn, can’t stop listening to this shit. I’m infected!
Standout tracks: “Witch Trials”, “Fear…”, “Beyond All Knowledge”
Final rate: 89/100