Reviewed: December 2019
Released: 2019, Svart Records (EU) / Profound Lore (NA)
Reviewer: Jesse Edwards
The Deathtrip will release their new album ‘Demon Solar Totem’ on 15th November via Svart Records (Europe) and Profound Lore (North America), and the band now feature vocalist Kvohst (Ex-Dødheimsgard/Code) who has replaced Aldrahn (Dodheimsgard) since the band’s previous album.
On first listen, it’s clear that this album will not be breaking any new ground; the tracks consist of tried and tested staples of the genre, and everything remains relatively safe. One of my main grumbles is that the album suffers from a tendency to bring each track to a slow and repetitive dirge. I’m sure there’s people who like this kind of thing—I hear plenty of it in so many of the recent black metal releases—but I find it all rather boring, so although not to my tastes, I do want to stress that these sections are done well and will be appreciated by those who dig it; if however, you like your black metal old-school (like me), then there’s still plenty to enjoy!
The vocals remain grim throughout the album without becoming indistinguishable, the riffs are icy-cold, and the drumming stays organic. Nowhere is this more evident than on the ripping “Surrender To A Higher Power”, which is most definitely the highlight of the album!
A killer riff akin to a supercharged “Freezing Moon” carries some tormented vocals before introducing the atmospheric choir into the mix, which, to my surprise, actually works quite well alongside the ferocity of the riffing. This track also does not suffer from the aforementioned dirge section and continues to rip throughout the entire 6 minutes—this definitely works to its advantage.
The next track “Vintage Telepathy” is another slow and brooding affair, but one that is much more to my tastes! The addition of some well-placed swinging riffs evoke an atmosphere of longing before some effective ‘Pink Floyd-esque’ vocal layers add the finishing touch.
The final track is another slow moving affair that really suffers from a lack of invention, and it feels like by this point ideas well had run dry. When the proceedings finally get moving around the 5 minute mark, it’s all too late to save the track from obscurity, and this brings the album to a rather subdued and anti-climatic ending.
I feel like this album is a real mixed bag, there are some excellent moments to be found, but far too much filler for this to be worthy of any classic status. Admittedly, the album not entirely in fitting with my rather specific black metal tastes, but if you like Watain—it’ll be just the ticket!