Last time out, 2012’s The Emptiness Within (Kolony), progressive deathsters De Profundis lit the touch paper of anticipation by spinning a twisted tower dire of cacophonous, methodical strands of tight, technical metal all wrapped taut in a very promising third album. Follow on by refining and developing the song-writing elements on Kingdom Of The Blind (Wickerman) would surely see De Profundis crowned as cyclopic kings?
Having stopped a gap with last years’ Frequencies EP (also Wickerman), two-thirds of the original material of which is regurgitated here, Kingdom Of The Blind (once we’re past the obligatory “atmospheric classical” intro – yawn), throws an interesting initial curve ball, as ‘Kult Of The Orthodox’ unfurls with a discordant melodic fury, before settling into a stately deathly march. Unfortunately it seems Tom Atherton has borrowed Nicko McBrain’s biscuit tin for a snare, as heard on No Prayer For The Dying (EMI), and the distracting “pah-pah-pah” takes away from a fine couple of Dissection tinged riffs.
Settling down after its’ initial divergence, Kingdom Of The Blind soon finds a comfort zone… though maybe not for the protagonists, whose dexterous performances risk finger-cramp at times. While mid-paced death metal, decorated with melodious and frequent leads and both progressive and technical deviances is the order of the day, once the early cards have been dealt there are few surprises to light the way.
Lacking either a truly innovative spark – the jazzy breakout in ‘All Consuming’ accompanied by the (though very complex) fretless bass noodling of Arran McSporran arrives as expected, neither shocking nor adding any particular dynamic embellishment to the song – or series of hooks to overly distinguish the tracks from each other, Kingdom Of The Blind competently passes by with its contorted mesh of riffs, overlaid with some Gregor Mackintosh-esque leads.
With touches of (very) early My Dying Bride in their more death metalling moments, and with more than a nod to the excellent Disincarnate and legendary Death (natch), De Profundis have turned in a decent, if safe, slab of progressive death metal that doesn’t reach the levels promised by its’ predecessor. Expectation can be a bugger, hey?