DEADLIFE - Porphyria (WOLFSPELL Records CD 2016)
If you thought that extensive recording schedule of Hermóðr should be enough to keep Rafn busy, then you’re wrong. After “From Tears to Ashes” compilation, which had included three full albums plus an EP, Rafn comes with another bunch of releases with his another project called Deadlife. I think that only in 2016 he released three or four new EPs and another album titled “Porphyria” – and this album I had a pleasure to listen to greatly through the past few days.
In case you wondered what are the differences between Hermóðr and Deadlife, then let me say that there are some, even if both bands perform the melancholic and doomy black metal. But Hermóðr seems to be a bit more melodic and epic, with extensive use of keyboards and so on, to create really dark and atmospheric sound. Meanwhile Deadlife music is harsher and even if it also use a lot of melody and slow tempos, it sounds more depressive and sorrowful, when speaking of the feeling of the music. Yeah, depression, suicide, hopelessness, solitude, misery – these words seem to be the most suitable to describe Deadlife and the concept (while Hermóðr seems to speak a lot about nature).
Well, I have to admit that at first “Porphyria” didn’t impress so much and I felt like it’s a bit boring material. I couldn’t get into it properly and just didn’t like it as much as I like some other Rafn’s works. Luckily the more I was listening to Deadlife, the more I started to enjoy it. What worked so well was the great gift that Rafn has to build fantastic atmosphere and how to come up with some truly infectious and mesmerizing harmonies. Right from the first song “Blue Lifeless Skin” you will catch some really fantastic melodies and generally I think that they help you get into this album and memorize it. Obviously such music has its faults – it is rather one dimensional and monotonous, because the tempo is basically the same, constantly through every next song it doesn’t change and it’s rather unavoidable that the songs will get blurry and start to sound very alike. And more so, “Porphyria” contains one hour of music, which is a lot – and I honestly would prefer to cut maybe twenty minutes off, to get better impression for the whole album. But for what it is, it’s still rather good album, with a lot of stunning moments and harmonies, which just grasp your attention fully. I also really like how the atmosphere and melody correspondents with rather harsh production and croaky sound of Rafn vocals. Not all songs are great; such “The Day I Died” belongs to my favourites, “All Hope Is Lost” is also a real standout track… on the other hand such “Deprived”, with its more up tempo black metal in the vein of early Burzum is rather forgettable. But most of this material is really good, so I can understand why Rafn decided to include so much material on this album. But I would prefer really to cut off 2-3 songs and leave them for another EP. But that’s my opinion. All in all “Porphyria” is a damn good album and yes, I am yet again impressed with the work of this Swede.
Standout tracks: “All Hope Is Lost”, “The Day I Died”, “When All Becomes Quiet”
Final rate: 70/100