Depravity – Evil Upheaval

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Reviewed: July, 2018
Released: 2018, Transcending Obscurity Records
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

Take the dexterity and brutality of Suffocation or Cannibal Corpse, the savage grace of Morbid Angel and the smothering density of Immolation or Incantation and you’ve pretty much got Australia’s Depravity in a nutshell. And while the band’s full-length debut doesn’t really sound any one of those bands in particular, it captures elements of each and the spirit of all. And I mean that as a compliment.

First and foremost, Evil Upheaval is vicious and heavy as fuck, a nearly nonstop 40-minute barrage of surging, thunderous riffs, stampeding rhythms and frontman Jamie Kay’s imposing, guttural roar. The opening track, “Manic Onslaught” with its ominous “It was like all the forces of hell were unleashed” voiceover intro, is a pretty apt description for the album as a whole.

The mournful, synth-tinged opening to the epic “The Great Divide” provides the most prolonged break in the action – and then the song absolutely explodes about 90 seconds in, riding Louis Rando’s double-bass salvos and the careening screech of Lynton Cessford and Jarrod Curly guitars to tech-death perfection. It’s awesome.

And yet for all of its muscle, might and menace, there is a surprising tunefulness to Evil Upheaval. With its monumental hooks and freaky twin leads, a track like “Insanity Reality” sounds rather like Machine Head – albeit on steroids and meth. Sinister melodies abound on the album so even something with the brutal death metal bent of “Despondency” – where Kay’s vocals come from way down deep in the gut – engages instead of repels.

These guys are old pros who bring a variety of backgrounds to the Depravity table. Kay fronted uber-technical The Ritual Aura for two albums. Rando plays with the black/thrash/trio Impiety, among others. Bassist Ainsley Watkins played with speed metallers Scourge while the guitarists cut their teeth with a variety of death/brutal death metal bands. And there are elements of all of that at work here – except for maybe speed metal – which helps create the band’s special sauce, as it were.

But, whatever, it works. The songs are punishing yet likable, the performances border on spectacular without being showy and the big, brash production only makes Evil Upheaval all the heavier. If there’s one nit to pick, it’s that the album probably could have used a bit more of the contrast the above-mentioned intro to “The Great Divide” provided. Given the prolonged battering the band deliver, a moment or two here and there to allow one to pick oneself up off the canvas would have been welcome.


Track Listing


1. Manic Onslaught
2. Insanity Reality
3. Repugnant
4. Despondency
5. The Great Divide
6. Victimizer
7. Tormented
8. Evil Upheaval
9. Vile Defloration

Jamie Kay – vocals
Lynton Cessford – guitar
Jarrod Curly – guitar
Ainsley Watkins – bass
Louis Rando – drums