Album Review: Lamentations – Passion of Depression

Progressive death metal is relatively a young sub-genre, and Lamentations are attempting to stake their claim within it through their new album Passion of Depression. On this seven-track journey, the quartet navigate theatrical soundscapes as well as staunch brutality, almost to the detrimental point of melodrama. They certainly earn creative points for experimenting, but their overall songwriting quality leaves room for refinement.

“Prodigal” opens the full-length with a heroic guitar lead over a guitar-tapping rhythm. Once they kick the song into high gear, it’s melo-death bombardment. The track’s bridge features an enchanting piano lead over delicate acoustic guitars, and then a mushy clean vocal passag—on the nasal sid—takes hold. The continuing back-and-forth between emo-esque parts and chaotic heaviness throughout the record can be disorienting and momentum-draining.

Picking up the pace is the following heater “Anew.” Here we’re assaulted with high-strung blast beats and majestic riffs. The high/low trade-off dynamic present in the aggressive vocals is enough to get the pulse racing as well. “Shiver” is an epic hymn that blooms vividly during its second half with dark, ominous riffs and demonic, multi-layered yells. The retro keyboard licks add a layer of paint to the chilling picture.

Where Lamentations project a story the strongest is in “Sombre.” Through glistening chimes, synths, and acoustic guitar, its intro lands us in a gloomy realm surrounded by thorny wildlife. The fantastical imagery generated by its monolithic riffs is compelling, to say the least. “Ire” doesn’t mess around narrating any tale whatsoever, it simply smacks you repeatedly with a barrage of tech death grooves and double bass. It’s the most vicious song on the full-length even though it contains more awkward clean vocal portions.

Closing out the album in grand fashion is “Nurture,” with a marathon running time of 14:19. More attention to song structure could serve this long haul better because it comes across as just a binge of scattered riffs. Its sultry, clean guitar lead garners the most attention. The final four minutes could be a song all its own via its developing variations of a central wiry riff, culminating in a brief 8-bit fuzz outro.

Passion of Depression was recorded by multiple engineers including Jason Athanasiadis, Chris Stropoli, Steven Harbor, Janak Jashi, and Raimy Rashid. It’s mixed and mastered by Jamie King and produced by the band along with Athanasiadis. With all these different hands involved in the cooking, maybe it’s why the album’s recipe lacks cohesion and structure bordering to a fault. Nonetheless, Passion of Depression does showcase many bright segments and flaunts the band’s storytelling potential.

Lend your ears to this vigorous prog composition when it releases on November 11 via Willowtip Records.

Buy the album here.

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