(Here’s DGR‘s review of the latest album by the German band Deserted Fear, which is out now via Century Media.)
I’ve spent a lot of time staring at the list of stuff I’ve recently been cycling through for listening, trying to find some sort of overarching theme. Usually you can pin it down to the predictable seasonal shifts at work or the somewhat more nebulous ebbs and flows of heavy metal releases – both of which have been solidly upended over the past few years.
What I did notice, though, was the presence of a few releases early on in the year of the kind that I usually only expect to find one or two of throughout the year. Those are the melodeath releases that seem to revolve around a big, anthemic songwriting core. Those have been a recent development as of the mid-2000s as the genre began to fling itself around more and more in search of ways to stick out amidst an increasingly crowded style – many would argue it has been a stagnated style since the metalcore scene exploded.
While many bands would stick to the tried and true, and wound up with pretty much tried and true results, others would write these big, almost arena-rock-esque ‘us vs the world’ types of songs; many mid-tempo and often about as filled with a million guitar lines and melodies, as one might expect from the big auditorium-filling style. For some reason, it seems like many bands have had this sort of release in them, and at some point they’ll default to it for an album or two, with results that can be as vast as the number of bands doing it.
Which brings us to the deceptively death metal looking March release Doomsday by Germany’s Deserted Fear, which has somehow turned out to be their take on the big pyro-launching, guitar stomp spectacle.
Like its older sibling Drowned By Humanity, Doomsday gives you a lot of music from the get-go. Cards on the table, all of which are consistently solid. If you want to have even more fun, it also maintains a pattern like the four albums before it of having a song about a minute-thirty in length just titled “Intro”. There’s a lot of room here for that sort of music though.
Deserted Fear are a three-piece who aren’t really breaking the mold this time around. Instead, they’re refining on what they did with Drowned By Humanity already. They’re writing songs that sound way bigger than just three guys, and this time they double-down on the sort of ‘big, glorious stomp’ in all of them. It’s no wonder that one of the group’s music videos had them surrounded by pyro ala the Wolfheart crew and their fire fetish for music videos, because Doomsday is an album written for pyro hits.
There are multiple moments throughout Doomsday where you can imagine Deserted Fear surrounded by towers of flame, and not just during the “Follow The Light That Blinds” video. Later on in Doomsday‘s tracklisting one of the heavier hitters of the album is even called “Voices Of Fire”, and at that point the band have pretty much broken the handle off of the symbolism hammer and are basically just bludgeoning you with the head of it while the marker written word on the side fades off.
“Part Of The End” is the song that is most typical of the music within Doomsday though, which you’ll likely recognize if you’ve had any experience with the group’s previous album. It’s the style of song that basically runs backwards and steals the baton in the album relay race from the leg before it and then takes off before the other album got a chance to finish. It may be behavior unbefitting of an anchor but this one sounds like it wants to pick the whole team up and put it on its back.
“Part Of The End” colors much of the first part of Doomsday, so that “Idols Of Triumph” and the aforementioned “Follow The Light That Blinds” just seem like one big number sequenced after another. It isn’t until the band use the forty-three seconds of “At Its End” to break things up a little bit that you escape that initial vortex of huge-chugging marathons and go into the double-bass-roll gallop out of a more death-metal-inflected In Flames playbook that you find in a song like “The One Desire”.
It’s fitting as well then, that the band included a cover of the In Flames song “Artifacts Of The Black Rain” on the limited edition version of the album, because it seemed like the band really wanted to make it clear this time how much of an influence those guys were on the Deserted Fear bunch.
As mentioned before, I’ll find a handful albums in this style every year. Deserted Fear‘s previous release of big, shout at the top of your lungs death metal songs was also one of those, so they’ve continue the trend unchallenged with Doomsday. You’re dealing in light variations with Doomsday vs the album that preceded it. It’s a little moodier and a little stompier – as younger siblings often are – but for the most part Deserted Fear are taking the ‘if it aint broke, don’t fix it approach”.
As always, it’s the strangest thing to describe a metal album as ‘comfort food’, but even the melodic thump and guitar wallop that Deserted Fear get up to on Doomsday falls very much in line with that. It has made for a good default in between the usual batterings, screechings, head-removals, and other aural ass-beatings that are delivered to the ear canal throughout the year.
It’s also slowly transforming Deserted Fear into one of those groups where the most recent album may likely be the best one to listen to if you’ve never crossed paths with them before, as each slightly refines upon its predecessor. This one just seems to like fire a little more.