De Profundis – The Emptiness Within (Kolony Records)

Monday, 25th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

The discussion on British black metal typically begins and ends with Cradle of Filth. The question if they’re a “true” black metal band has always been up for debate (Mike Sloan would be the right person to ask – dude loves the Filth), so that leaves the U.K. with very little to show for in the BM sweepstakes. In terms of the band in question, De Profundis, they’re not even sure if they want to be a black metal band either, for The Emptiness Within is all over the extreme metal stratosphere. It’s awfully confusing. Doesn’t anyone from the United Kingdom want to be a black metal band?

Judging by the band’s indecipherable logo and previous output, the underpinnings of black metal are certainly there for De Profundis. However, they cast an awfully wide net on the nine songs that comprise of The Emptiness Within, and they usually strike gold when they’re hitting the melodic gong, like on the excellent opener “From the Depths” and album highlight “Silent Gods.”

To their credit, the Brits do an excellent job of cross-breeding the black arts with death metal and even jazz (although that influence is quite minor). The rumble and roar of “This Wretched Plague” and tech-on-prog-back-to-tech clamor of “Twisted Landscapes” boggles up the album and sends it into an entirely different direction. The same bodes for “Release,” which hits like Human-era Death, while “Parallel Existence” is a gem of an instrumental, utilizing the full capabilities and scope of the band’s distinct grasp of melodic arrangements.

The air of sophistication in which The Emptiness Within operates is distinctive and is probably too cerebral for the pale-toned, blast-beat borne black metal scene. Rather, De Profundis is one of the rare smorgasbord extreme metal bands that totally defy categorization, and if they had a half a brain (which they probably do), they’d avoid any black metal tags like the plague. Bloody well done, as they say.

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