DEADLIFE - From Tears to Ashes (WOLFSPELL Records - CD 2015)
You may remember Rafn from his excellent project Hermóðr. When reviewing “What Once Was Beautiful” I mentioned that he has also some more projects and Deadlife is actually one of them. And just like it was with Hermóðr, Deadlife was also formed recently, in 2011, and also has quite vast discography already, with three full length albums, some EPs, etc. Damn, I suppose that all Rafn is doing is sleep, shit, eat and play music, no time for anything else like work or other wasting of time haha. No wonder then that he refuses answering interviews, he has no time for it if he must record five or more albums every year for all the projects he has haha. But seriously now, Wolfspell Records just released a compilation CD titled “From Tears to Ashes” with all three albums of Deadlife plus an EP and some bonus songs! It’s a lot of material, it takes two CDs and overall you’ll find here 2,5 hours of music! Wow!
And I must say it’s a real challenge to go through all this music, especially at one go. I mean, it’s a lot, too much really and it feels even more if you think it’s all doomy, slow depressive black metal played in the harsh, minimalist and crude way. Because this is again what Rafn offers, but compared to Hermóðr, Deadlife is not even half as melodic and easily listenable. It’s not so atmospheric, but totally depressive, mournful and as mentioned, it’s played in very raw and minimalist black metal way. The albums are titled “Slutskedet” (2013), “Värdelös” (2013) and “No Help Is Coming” (2014). The EP is called “Worthless Existence” (2014). There’s not so much difference between all these recordings, to be honest. They all have simple, harsh black metal songs as well as some calmer, more quiet pieces like “The Chronicles of Pain” and “För evigt förtvivlad” on “Slutskedet” or “Mentalt kaos & lidande” (which is a dark ambient piece) and “Pieces of the Past” (which is all acoustic guitar song) on “Värdelös”.
For Deadlife Rafn composed rather long songs, they’re all over five, some even over ten minutes song and usually within one song he doesn’t combine much and the song structures are pretty simple (so is the music, really), with not so much variation. That obviously creates a strong feeling of monotony, but it’s also about the specific atmosphere, which all depressive, mournful and doomy black metal bands share. On the other hand such “Life Is Just Too Long”, which is 14 minutes long (so maybe it’s a bit ironic title haha) starts to annoy me after a while and the riffs and wailing melodies are enough to skip this song for good. “No Help Is Coming” album is definitely the best one here, you can hear that it’s better played and recorded, with nice sound quality and a bit more focus on good songwriting, vocals, nice riffs and melancholic melodies what all together bring a very interesting and enjoyable album. Songs like “Alone” and “Stabbed to Sleep” are the ones to listen to. This album is also the longest and it obviously doesn’t avoid a bit of monotony, but it’s nothing what would really disturb in enjoying it.
2,5 hours is maybe too much time to spend over such sorrowing and minimalist music. To be honest, I’ve tried to listen to the entire double CD set in go, but never managed as it’s just too long and after a while I just needed some different, maybe more aggressive and powerful, more energetic stuff. But in smaller doses Deadlife is not bad at all. I don’t like it as much as Hermóðr’s excellent album, but it is surely a solid and worthy to collect music also.
Final rate: 70/100