Looking for something intriguing with a fresh breath but still holding that raw edge which suggests that impressive early days have the potential to lead to major encounters? Then try checking out the Ethereal EP from US dark melodic metallers Deathwhite, a striking blaze of inventive and superbly crafted songs which rigorously capture the imagination and ignite the senses. The debut release from the band is an honest and striking introduction to the band, one unafraid to show its honed and less polished edges. It is also an encounter impossible not to get excited about as dramatic landscapes pull the listener into immersive and provocative explorations which leave senses and emotions as keen as a swiftly established appetite for the band’s sound.
Deathwhite was formed in 2012, its secretive line-up already well-established in extreme metal bands. The project is a vehicle for its members to explore new avenues, taking inspirations from the likes of Katatonia, mid-90’s Paradise Lost, Alcest, In the Woods, Green Carnation, Antimatter, and early Anathema into their emerging invention. Despite a semi-aborted EP which the band began last year, Ethereal is the unveiling of the band. Recorded at Pittsburgh’s Very Tight Studios with producer/engineer Matt Very earlier this year (with its closing song recorded in the fall of 2013 at a different studio), the six-track proposition takes little time in making a rich impression and placing Deathwhite deeply into the gaze of attentions radar.
The release opens with its title track, a brief instrumental crafted by expressive guitar with emotive melodic hues. It is a thoroughly engaging entrance to the EP which hints at things to come without revealing too much, similar to the band’s presence online. What does swiftly come next is a glorious rhythmic incitement as the following When I (Wasn’t) You bursts into life. Roaming beats of drums make a punchy bait without being demanding, continuing their impressive coaxing as guitars gently and then with a fiery breath swarm around them. It is a dramatic mix which sets up an instant appetite for the song; one soon fed by the roving emotive prowess of the guitars and deep throated shadows from the bass, whilst strong if also at times unpolished vocals unfurl the narrative. As contagious as it is melancholically imposing, the track almost stalks the imagination as it virulently infects the passions. Individual skills are openly appealing as is the united tempest of their creativity and though the production is also raw in its touch it tempers its less forgiving side by empowering a greater growl to the riffs and sonic endeavour to further feed ears.
The strong start to the release continues with the equally impacting Give Up the Ghost. Another caustic wash of sound brings its heart into view, making way for a flowing melodic breeze around charged vocals. It brings essences of Tool and in some ways Karnivool to the mix, though they are mere whispers of spice within the expansive roar and intensive almost portentous air of the track. Though it fails to match the heights of its predecessor, the song adds further colour and variation to the songwriting and potent sound of the band, a new avenue to their growing scenery of invention and skilled designs within the release.
The following Silenced prowls around ears with a sinister yet seductive lure, its keen gait a spark to the brooding vocal and lyrical wrap which draws greater hunger towards the fluidly shifting ground of sound. It is possible to suggest favours of styles within Deathwhite songs as here, but impossible to pin it down into a description which truly represents the creative emprise the band offers. It is a refreshing and intrigue fuelled potency which adds to the promise and already sturdy stature of their sound, as evidenced again in the next up Feeding the Illusion. Erupting with a sturdy rhythmic weight and flame encrusted sonic heat the track is soon enveloping the vocal croon with a blistering torrent of incendiary melodies and driving riffs, all caustic to the touch and rigorously gripping. As the previous song, it suddenly slips into unpredictable asides, progressive and post metal additives colouring the adventure as one terrain seamlessly turns into another. The track from its strong initial engagement persistently grows in the passions, becoming one of the lingering exploits of the release.
Closing with the rugged and slightly corrosive A Burden to Carry, another heavily enticing and thrilling track which needs a better productive to thrive in; Ethereal is an immense base camp for Deathwhite as they start a certain ascent. As mentioned the release has its issues, the similarity of some passages of riffs between songs defusing their individual potency at times another, but like any other ‘niggle’ it will evolve and work itself out in time. This is a band with the armoury and invention to make waves; we wait with interest whilst basking in their impressive debut.
The self-released Ethereal is available now @ http://deathwhite.bandcamp.com/
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