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Dreams Of Deluge
Released: 2014, Independent
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
As a band, THE DRIFT are newcomers on the death metal scene but their members are veritable veterans of the South African metal world. Coming together from the likes of MISERICORD, CHROMIUM, KNAVE, GADABOUT and ALL FORLORN, these South African's debut their independently released “Dreams Of Deluge” and it is ambitious for an indie act. Not content with just putting out a crushingly heavy cut of death metal on their debut, they have made this the middle part of a concept album trilogy with the follow up albums concerning themselves with the prequel and aftermath of the story here. So an independently released middle-part concept debut album – incredibly ambitious and thankfully, it pays off.
Within the liner notes of “Dreams Of Deluge” the story is told of a nameless apostle who taunts his people's theocratic leader – the Father – after years of searching for truth in exile, and enduring Omnus – a god seeking the nameless apostle's servitude – poisoning his dreams. Each song goes into depth throughout this story and beyond, detailing everything from the perspective of the nameless apostle and the resulting impact his taunting the Father has on him and his world. It's a heavy story and one that needs to be matched by equally heavy music – thankfully, THE DRIFT deliver this expertly.
Their sound has touches of HATE ETERNAL's ferocity and even GOJIRA at their heaviest (matter of the universe...) as well as their about-face changes of rhythm, whilst vocalist Louis du Pisani even shares a similar timbre to Erik Rutan in places. It all adds up and makes for a devastatingly heavy record. “Exile” erupts in finger-flaying style before dropping into a filthy groove that implores headbanging, whilst “Ommerge” - the album's “single”, complete with video – continues the heavy, groove-laden riffs but makes use of melody to produce a tumultuous finale. Each track is fitting with the story and serves to further it brilliantly well - “The Rain” sounds like the soundtrack to a biblical drenching, whilst album highlight “An Ocean Prayer” balances an achingly beautiful and morose sense of regret with frothing-fury deliciously well. The finale to this is positively astounding – clean vocals are used to great effect alongside the despairing growls and make for one hell of a penultimate track. The album is focused, and knowledgable of what is needed to get its point across with expert use of ebb and flow – tracks push and pull in accordance with the tale on hand; allowing to pause for breath and appreciate the heart of the story.
Guitarists Jason Giacoppo and Stefan Stabic's riffs are sublime throughout; mixing fret-bothering technical riffs with slamming progressions, whilst incorporating dissonance and melody wherever required. Helped by a gorgeously low and crunchy tone finely mixed with Marc Junius' bass excellence – the overall sound these three obtain begins pushing towards a NILE-style wall of heavy (prior to “At The Gates Of Sethu”), but maintains clarity at all times. Beneath this, Hannes Matthysen's drumming is solid, dependable and a no frills approach – the song needs what he plays and he delivers. But our story-teller in-chief, Pisani takes the plaudits for his efforts here – it is a wonderful performance, full of power and emotion that takes the story to a higher, harder-hitting level. It's all very well and good being able to sound so guttural and so brutal, but when you can deliver the emotion of song in such a way that listeners can begin feeling the story, you're doing something right. There is a slight mix issue within the final third-thrashing section of album closer “Glimpse Of A Father” - bizarrely it slightly drops in dynamic before jumping back up immediately into the next section. It doesn't occur elsewhere at all on the album, but it just jumps out a little too much – a nitpick on an otherwise brilliantly produced album.
“Dreams Of Deluge” is a breathtaking debut. Regardless of the fact that the guys in THE DRIFT are seasoned veterans in the South African metal scene, this is a debut to behold. Pulverizing riffs, teasing melodies, inventive bass lines, excellent drumming, powerful vocals – it's more or less perfect. One small mix issue aside, it is a highly recommended listen and a great story throughout. Here's hoping the future prequel and aftermath will continue this excellence.
Review by Lee Carter
2. A Lost Son
4. The Hour Unknown
7. The Rain
10. An Ocean Prayer
11. Glimpse Of A Father
Hannes Matthysen – Drums, Vocals,
Jason Giacoppo – Guitar,
Louis du Pisani – Vocals,
Stefan Stabic – Guitar, Vocals,
Marc Junius – Bass.
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