De Profundis
The Blinding Light of Faith

IT’S MORPHIN’ TIME! Okay, I won’t lie to you guys. I didn’t actually know the catch phrase to the once longtime running children’s show without having to look it up. In all honesty, I’ve never seen an episode of the original program or its spinoffs as I am considered an old fart to many youngsters, i.e. teenagers and twenty-somethings, even though I’m only in my 40’s. So, why would I quote a line from a television show I have never seen, nor plan to see? Simple, I needed a decent sequeway to lead into the review for the new album, The Blinding Light of Faith, from the U.K.’s De Pofundis. Hell it obviously worked, right? I mean you’re still reading this review a full paragraph in and I haven’t even so much as said one thing about the band or their new release.

Morphing is actually something De Profundis are quite familiar with as the band have been on a continual ever-changing journey since their beginnings. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the band jumps complete genres from album to album. No, theirs is a gradual morphing taking place in a much more consistent and natural manner. From the mature progressive and proggy death-doom of Beyond Redemption and A Bleak Reflection, to the fiestier, more blackened and symphonic sounds of The Empitiness Within, or the full on progressive death worship à la Atheist, on Kingdom of the Blind, De Profundis have clearly been a constant moving and changing entity…and for better or worse that change continues on The Blinding Light of Faith.

What surprises me about the band’s latest is the more straightforward and even stripped down attack that is present. Though full of licks, leads, and lacerating rhythms, The Blinding Light of Faith is definitely a bit “less” than previous efforts. Yet does less equal more in this case? Well honestly, the jury is still out on that one (and by jury, I mean me). The album is a damn fine affair, almost like Hypocrisy meets Lamb of God in a lot of ways. Obviously, where it falls in the ranking of the band’s discography is clearly up to personal taste and opinion, but where else was the band supposed to go with their material? To me, this more direct approach seems to be a logical step in their evolution considering how advanced the group sounded right from their debut. Yet, don’t take straightforward for dumbed down, because that is clearly not what The Blinding Light of Faith is.

“Obsidian Spires” opens the album with some speedy, thrashy and punchy, as well as catchy, melo-death. The track offers a bit of a blackened flair midpoint in the form of some fiery blasts, vocals, and tremolo picking but mainly sticks to the central melodic idea that runs throughout the song. The song is definitely no slouch, nor is it necessarily  extroverted either. Instead “Obsidian Spires” is a great opening track that is catchy and accessible just enough while setting the tone and pace for the rest of the album. Album highlight and personal favorite comes in the form of “Opiate for the Masses”, which has a bit of a slower beginning before quickly leading into a Suffocation meets Iced Earth meets Extol aesthetic of progressive melo-death. It may sound a bit strange in description, but it works marvelously well. Speaking of progressive, some truly great moments of it shine beginning at the 3:18 mark, where the drums and distortion largely drop out with the fretless bass juxtaposing beside some really nice clean guitar antics, achieving a fantastic Atheist-like jazz progression that shows off the extremely talented skills of bassist, Arran McSporran. Further Extol-isms abound while some tasty soloing helps things shine to an even brighter luster.

Ripping blackened melo-death continues to scorch ears as “Martyrs” comes slicing out after somewhat disturbing cries of “Allahu Akbar” come screaming out of the speakers in the form of the song’s intro. Progressive death brilliance comes at the 2:25 as the bass twists beautifully on top of those simple guitar chords, leading into some strong and fluid soloing that collectively harkens to the excellence of greats like  Death, Atheist, Pestilence, Cynic, and Sadus. The track closes in a blasting, balls out fury…Good stuff. Album closer, “Bringer of Light”, has a nice, simpler and slower gait to its beginning; kind of reminiscent of something The Crown or even Paradise Lost might produce. A quick paced beatdown of progressive, yet menacing blackened death metal takes over with some driving and emotionally charged movements quickly transitioning to some great bass work as well as some well thought-out lead work between the 5:31 and the 6:04 mark. The track’s remainder builds up to a closure that reeks of a Cynic-y nature,  fantastic and beautiful in its own right.

The Blinding Light of Faith ended up being a bit of a weird album for me that didn’t really make much of an initial impression. While the physical copy I purchased through the label comes in a wonderful and beautifully executed eight panel digipack, the actual recording on the disc was flawed, containing a constanst clicking/shuffling sound behind everything (it happens sometimes….wasn’t the first and probably won’t be the last time for me to purchase an album with this similar type of defect). Though the flaw isn’t enough to consider the album hampered in any true way, it was enough of a bother to cause me to shelve it early without giving it too much of a deserved listen. Thankfully, for whatever reason, and the ability to stream the album flaw free, I was drawn back to The Blinding Light of Faith and found that more than a lasting impression was indeed being formed with each consecutive listen; ultimately making me hold these tracks in a much higher regard than I had originally perceived. Good job De Profundis, not many acts can strip their sound back and pull a succesful retrograde and come out with such a well rounded product. Not only is The Blinding Light of Faith a really good album, but it shows, once again, that Transcending Obscurity Records has got a continued knack for knocking releases out of the park.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
October 26th, 2018

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