Those of you who have been routinely stopping by our site over the last few weeks know that we’ve been enthusiastically welcoming the return of the Australian black metal band Deadspace, not only trying to help spread the word about their forthcoming seventh album Unveiling the Palest Truth on the Immortal Frost label, but also announcing and premiering a song from their new EP Within Haunted Chambers — and today that EP has been released.
As we’ve previously reported, the EP functions as something of a harrowing glide path to the takeoff of the new album. It includes three tracks from two Deadspace albums, The Promise of Oblivion (independently released in 2015) and Dirge (released through Talheim Records in 2019), but Deadspace have re-recorded the songs to showcase their evolution over the years in the live and studio arenas and to bring them more in line with what we’ll hear on the new full-length. As they explained to us:
This is part of us re-establishing ourselves and a much harsher and heavier entity, leaving behind the DSBM moniker. These tracks are how these songs are played live now in 2023 and are designed to sit well amongst our newer material that will be out in September.
The tracks on the new EP (which features cover art by Anett Gebauer, using a painting by Ukrainian artist Vlad Darkness666) are “I’ll Buy the Rope” from The Promise… and “The Malevolence I’ve Born unto Others” and “Rapture” from Dirge. Symphonic elements were contributed by Déhá, who also mixed and mastered the music at Opus Magnum Studios. Which brings us to our own thoughts about the EP.
As a start, we’ll repeat what we previously wrote about the track we premiered, “The Malevolence I’ve Born Unto Others“. As the EP’s opener, it comes across as a blazing ravager, almost immediately scorching the senses with vast waves of searing, sky-high sound, scalding screams, and turbo-driven drumming. Together, the synths and guitars brilliantly shine but also sear — and the song also suddenly shifts into a stalking cadence with bleak, slashing chords that sound cold and cruel.
The wide-ranging and thoroughly wrenching vocals, which descend into monstrous roars and elevate into terrifying howls and wails, add to the song’s frightening intensity. And the tormented intensity never relents, though it expands in its scale and sweep, creating a sonic vista of wondrous yet alarming (and malevolent) grandeur. Glittering keyboard tones add an aspect of mesmerizing elegance, but the song also menacingly swaggers and brutally jolts.
And so, in its new form, the song is elaborate but viscerally powerful, fearsome and a fuel for fear, afflicted in its roots but also awe-inspiring.
The revised versions of “Rapture” and “I’ll Buy the Rope” follow that song. In both of them vocalist Chris Gebauer again seems to physically turn himself inside out, with all the astonishing pain that would produce. The protracted howl that opens “Rapture” could be interpreted as an expression of rapture, but more like a surrender to terrible torment than an expression of joy. There’s also something terrifyingly rapturous about the rampant drum fusillades, the white-hot ring of the guitars, and the dramatic musical cascades that quickly cause the song to crest.
As Gebauer howls and screams, the riffing sizzles like agony in a boil and maniacally jitters, as synths soar in portrayals of skies-on-fire splendor and the big bass muses and murmurs. Once again, Deadspace seem to bring together an intersection of hopeless despair and devastation on a vast scale, but they also dramatically turn down the heat, allowing the rhythm section to rumble your bones while an elegantly haunting piano melody mesmerizes your mind. The band may have moved to leave their DSBM moniker behind, but the song is still unmistakably tragic, in both shattering and desolately forlorn ways.
The revised EP closer, “I’ll Buy the Rope“, is a full match for the dire and daunting intensity of the two preceding songs. Here the piano immediately plays a prominent role, carrying the plaintive melody while the band storms and stalks and Gebauer‘s reverberating voice snarls, wails, and becomes strangled. Here again, symphonic synths send the music into the stratosphere, though once more the band end on a note of isolation and abandonment.
In a more abbreviated summary, the new EP reveals a formidable band at the height of their powers, making a move but no less breathtaking in where they’ve gone. And it damned well ought to make people anxious for all the new songs on the new album.
As of today, Within Haunted Chambers is available for streaming and download at Bandcamp and Spotify. And don’t forget about that forthcoming Deadspace album — you’ll find lots of details about it, including a stream of its first single, via the links collected here.