Reviewed: February 2021
Released: 2021, Death To Music Productions
James Fogarty is a very busy man indeed!
In addition to writing and recording the five new tracks we have here, Fogarty is also credited as performing vocals, guitars and keys for Norwegian progressive metallers IN THE WOODS – He also makes a contribution to English, Cult black metal band OLD FOREST, for whom he provides vocals and keys. Fogarty is also the “main brain” behind heraldic Templar metal band JALDABOATH. Phew!
It’s fair to say, his metal credentials are perfectly in check even before we get to this latest release from his long running, experimental metal band, Ewigkeit.
Released on 23rd January, Depopulate was written & recorded during the lockdown period of the Covid19 Pandemic. Working in isolation, Forgarty has timed the release to coincide with the global roll out of the vaccine, elaborating how the EP examines the paranoia surrounding the virus, its social effects and the power wielded by the influential biotech industry.
He adds, “Unlike the recent 70’s rock – styled EP XXIII, the new EP DEPOPULATE is a unique composite of melodic Death Metal and post-Covid conspiracy theories… with blackened touches”
Indeed, the opening track, Patent Of Death gallops out of the speakers as if it has been unleashed from a Norweigian forest. Its impressively barbed riffs sparring with some melodic flourishes as the track confidently strides forth.
Lyrics such as “Biosafety has been breached, compromising human health” were previously something most of us would associate with fantasy video games and science fiction. It’s significant that here they resonate with renewed meaning and focus the listeners attention on the continuing blackened thrash of Biosafety Level 4. An aggressive headbanger of a track, peppered with urgent samples and shifting tempos.
The lurching riff of Plandemic is a particular highlight, alternating between a Ministry-esque grind and black metal orchestral keys – the tension is maintained to great effect as sirens and chaos weave among the heavy music.
On the title track Fogarty uses a majestic guitar melody to evoke classic Chuck Schuldiner, all the while continuing the relentless drive that seems to define this release. It’s as if the music advances with a similarly imposing nature to the virus that threatens us all. Unstoppable and unconcerned for us.
The Great Reset brings things to a close with a particularly savage vocal performance on the chorus, augmented by giddy keyboards that give the song a disorientating lilt before the whole thing accelerates into a satisfying blast beat that declares it’s “time to reset!
In the context of Depopulate, that would undoubtedly be a reference to the world post-pandemic, but for now there’s enough metallic riffery on here to warrant a “reset” of the play button and enjoy this again at volume.
The EP is available on all streaming platforms, via Death To Music productions (www.DeathToMusic.com) – an antidote is not assured.