Originally written by Erik Thomas
Slovakian melodic death metal band Depresy are one of those bands that all elitists, purists and collectors tag as a ‘must have’, and failure to know of the band’s existence results in mockery and exile. Now, that may have been the case for the last two simply brilliant efforts A Grand Magnificence, and Sighting, but as much as I hate to say it, this latest and equally hard to find album just doesn’t warrant the same measure of glowing, almost legendary mythos as their prior albums.
Shit. Maybe the bar was set too high. Maybe the loss of vocalist Dragon and bassist Martych and their subsequent replacements Vesper and Gabriel respectively threw off the chemistry? Anyway for whatever reason the grandiose, massive and melodic anthems of before are no more and Depresy are now simply not as elite as before. With more simplistic straightforward black/death metal approach, Depresy have fleshed out the astral/cosmic leaning to their songs that surfaced on Sighting. Those hoping for the medieval uber-melodics of “Unpure Romanticism-The Alchemy of Eternity” or “And There Came the Tears of Christ” are now greeted with tracks like “Heathen Esoteric Transmissions” and “Blind Equilibrium (A Complete Degeneracy of Perfect Cosmological Principles)”, and such delivered with more emphasis on cosmic synths and riffs rather than the almost gothic nature overtures of before.
Now, I’m not saying this is a bad album, but when side by side (and I gave the entire Depresy discography a solid listen just to ensure I wouldn’t be too harsh on this), it just doesn’t hold up to their past efforts. There’s some solid tracks here with hints of their trademark over the top layered majestics, but when I have to wait until track 3, “NAVb-Carpathian Sonnet of the Dead” (the album’s best cut, and also no coincidence it’s not space/cosmos themed), or track 9 “Cosmic Tragedy” to hear anything remotely resembling A Grand Magnificence, there’s a problem. There’s just something missing. Just listening to the simplistic death metal barrage of “Anamnesis”, highlights the lack of splendor and over the top harmonies that Depresy spouted out with awe inspiring ease. “Crepuscular Conquest”, highlights the new sounds perfectly, with an industrial/cyber lean to its frequent blastbeats. Sure, Depresy may come across as heavier than before (especially on the aforementioned track), but bands with this sound are a dime a dozen, at least before they were pretty unique.
It’s a crying shame that Psychomantium Phenomenon held no hypnotic sway over me whatsoever. Instead it’s a lifeless shell of the bands former self, and unlike their former albums, I won’t be coming back to it on a regular basis. Now the scores above may be misleading, but when you consider both A Grand Magnificence and Sighting would have garned 666’s, it highlights this album’s shortcomings more. On its own, Psychomantium Phenomenon would be considered OK, but when spoiled as am this just doesn’t cut it; The riffs are empty, the songs are forgetful, quite simply the majesty has gone, whether by choice or by natural evolution. I’m pretty sure most fans that own anything by this band will be disappointed by this effort. This band were on cusp of metal superstardom, and being the foremost Eastern European band not named Vader, but I don’t think this album is going to aid them.