Tech Death Thursday: Féleth – Depravity
Ain’t nobody heard of today’s band, so let’s get that sorted.
I’m cheating a little with this one.
Look, I know I end practically all of these articles with “Stay Tech,” but really, I need a bit of a break from it every now and then. Even I can get burned out when it’s all weedly-deedlies all the time, and given everything that’s going on, that burnout sets in much faster than usual. Sometimes I want to listen to something that doesn’t require a degree in linear algebra to tab out let alone play, but doesn’t necessarily go out hunting mammoths for survival. Today’s band feels like they’re just complex enough for me to have an excuse featuring here; we’re talking about Alta, Norway’s Féleth, whose new album, Depravity, lands towards the end of May.
Despite the fact that they’ve been around at least since 2015, you could be forgiven for not being familiar with them. As far as I’ve been able to gather, they’re live presence has been largely relegated to their hometown, and they only appear to have one EP from 2017 (The Covenant) thus far, which only appears to be on Spotify and Youtube. Not that it really matters; Depravity sounds like the product of seasoned veterans, due in no small part to the slick production job from Cryptopsy guitarist Christian Donaldson.
The band is plenty proficient to make this album a monster, production notwithstanding. Féleth does death metal fast and aggressive, reigning in their impressive technical chops for maximum impact, keeping their riffs (and songs, for that matter) relatively short and to the point. They strike a pretty even balance between chunky chords and caustic melodies, most of which are designed to coax headbanging than to impress with virtuosity. The album is front-loaded with catchy bangers, saving the more technical and weird bits for the latter half.
It turns out that’s a smart move from a pacing perspective; the album gets progressively heavier from song to song, gradually easing you into it rather than slapping you across the face with everything they’ve got upfront. It’s not until the fourth song in, “Arise,” that they really start to show off by kicking up the speed and throwing in some dueling guitar arpeggios near the end. “Dissolution” follows up on this by plumbing the depths of their instruments’ range and throwing in a straight-up lounge jazz break, then taking it further on “Pestilence” by upping the complexity and intensity. “Pale Tongue” and “Swan Song” close out the album on a more melodic note, featuring a chill break with clean vocals in the former and a more atmospheric approach to their sound on the latter.
So while this might not exactly be as tech as one would expect from a band on this column, it’s a great album if you’re looking for death metal that’s a little more complex than the norm. Depravity is catchy, it’s heavy, and it’s a lot of fun. Apparently their lyrics also touch on environmentalism and anti-capitalism, which is great; I’m super in for tech-flavored bands who aren’t afraid to take a political bent with their music. But even if you couldn’t give less than a damn about that, it’s very much worth a listen, and hopefully it gets Féleth on the metal world’s radar.
Depravity releases on May 22nd via DeadPop Records; I unfortunately don’t have any purchase links for you at the time, but I’ll update this as soon as I get my hands on them. In the meantime, you can follow Féleth on Facebook, so be sure to give them a shout out. That’s all for now, and until we meet again,