Written by: Lord Hsrah
Torture, pain, cannibalism, gore, evisceration, murderous psychopaths are all entities done, brushed, bruised and dusted in death metal and all its various derivative forms over the years. But Pune, India based trio Dead Exaltation bring forth their debut album, Despondent, in progressive/technical death metal flavors, and with it an interesting story of innocent civilians picked off the streets straight into prison, for no rhyme or reason (well, that's a rhyme), left at the mercy of a psychopathic jail warden and his sadistic, cannibal guards who show them what it feels like being hell's very own citizens living in God's created world.
Dead Exaltation took birth in 2015 as a five-piece band, but flowing in the daily course of the river of life, bassist Anish Poulose and second guitarist Sourjya Mukherjee separated as tributaries, leaving vocalist Satyajit Gargori, guitarist Mradul Singhal (who also recorded the bass, now deceased, R.I.P), and drummer Aditya Oke to record this since-long composed concept album.
Despondent begins with the intro track "Gloom," which sets the stage for what's to come in the coming tracks with eerie soundscapes, screams and screeches of tortured victims, grumbling and munching sounds of feasting (obviously on human flesh :D), and sounds of torture machines running. As the curtains to this horror show open, so does the album with a barrage of riffs on the following track "Involuntary Emasculation", which launches the crazy frenzy of ear pounding death metal that every track on the album carries with it.
Death metal to me is all about them nasty riffs--I'm talking the dirty and slimy ones--and this sick album gives them away abundantly. Ranging from the fast chugs, to the classic death metal styled legato sections, to the tremolo picked batches, in all sorts of scales and sounds--it's got it all. The album borrows from a variety of subgenres present under the massive heavy metal umbrella, as well as the many influences from the likes of stalwarts Gorod, Spawn of Possession, and Cattle Decapitation, among others, to bring out different flavors in the music, whilst still not straying far away from the death metal roots. We have the classic Cannibal Corpse-like gritty death metal on the aforementioned "Involuntary Emasculation" and the recently released single "Coerced Sewer Ingest"; there's the super fast, super technical sections like on songs like "The Transformation"; there are the melodic solos; there's heavy progressiveness and the neoclassical influences; there's an atmosphere (not the sweet one, but that of shock and horror) and there's the ambiance. Every track presents a new facet of the different styles incorporated in the music, and the production compliments it to great extent.
While everything sounds like all hell's broken loose in this psychotic death metal sonic prison-house, as it should, some moments seem pretty normal, like "normal" normal. Some passages contain these odd bright passages that don't really fit and seem like that one piece in the jigsaw puzzle that doesn't fit and just stands out. However, there's a nice blend of such differing styles that make this album a cool ride of courtesy of this spoken track, "The Conversation" which is a spoken track that adds a whole inch to the depth of the atmosphere with the grim conversation between the warden and one of the victims, and all the other ones the album. All in all, Despondent is a pretty solid effort for a debut released under these up 'n' down emotional as well as mental circumstances where the band members leave and one of them sadly departs from this world.
Dead Exaltation - Despondent will be independently. released on the Feb. 5th, 2020, and is available for pre-order here.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!