Are you a nostalgic metal head who already laid down his soul to the North European & British metal gods some fifteen years ago? If so, do better not listen to THE CREVICES BELOW’s debut album – the strike of this Australian musician could drive you insane.
Taking the naked facts into account, “Below The Crevices” seems like an album which has nothing extraordinary to offer: its concept is easy as pie, the music style not new at all, the cover artwork cliché-ridden – so far, so generic. But beware: Dis Pater sets you on the wrong track if you anticipate a standardized release.
The introduction of the first composition reminds me of the mid Nineties golden era of Cold Meat Industry with ghostly ambient sounds, after one and a half minute enriched by ghostly vocals. After three minutes you suddenly feel like dragged into the throne room once left by symphonic black metal masters Limbonic Art whose undead spirits still haunt this place of decaying glory. Believe me: already the first three minutes make you feel like travelling into another world, into a dark realm, let your mind fantasize about the band moniker and the album title – what (the hell) is there, what hides down below the crevices? The majestic black metal appearance of the main part of “Below The Crevices” already reveals the great strength of Dis Pater as well as slight shortcomings: the programmed drums play no more than a supportive role to the other instruments, which in this seldom case does not affect the overall strong impression of the music.
The intro of the second song makes me speechless, regardless how often I listen to it – this is primitive black magic turned into music! There’s a handful of darkest metal bands on this rotten planet which are able to spellbind me in similar ways – The Wounded Kings, Secrets of the Moon, Triptykon, Valborg and Gruenewald (the last one not that metallic anymore, but giving you hints at the atmosphere) – and I don’t expect any metal band to come close to such a high level of expression; even not if the band is on a label with certain ideas of quality. Yet there’s so much more to this song alone, that each description reducing it to metal lacks something essential. Sometimes “The Tombs Of Subterranea” sounds like a strong, focused reflection of Finnish pre (!) post (?) rock pioneers This Empty Flow, and there’s more than a single trace of second era (“Astral Sleep” and “Clouds”) Tiamat and post-Gothic Paradise Lost, but in total contrast to the countless uninspired rip-offs, THE CREVICES BELOW attracts with an emotional approach that defines the difference between copycats and passionate artists with broad inspiring backgrounds. And the melodies – have I mentioned the melodies? Simple, but so highly effective that it doesn’t take a handful of them to drive me nearly mad!
The next tune “A Grand Cavernous Awakening” sounds more relaxed, a bit as if David Galas had a jam session with The Loveless. A good song, but not really forceful. What follows, is a surprise again: “Whispers Of Sorrow” reminds me of early Arcana with its ambient introduction, before it’s taken to another level with a truly delicate & dreamy guitar sound – in fact that piece of music isn’t close to metal at all, yet I guess everybody who appreciates the melancholy of the Prophecy label’s artists in the Nineties, will easily connect with this song. “Trapped In Suicidal Depths” feeds again from a gothic interpretations by outsider artists like David Galas or underrated bands like Dreadful Shadows as well as from cult acts like Monumentum – you see: this album is despite its catchiness quite complex and I would tend to say that with its possessive character it stands the comparison with some classic albums. Similar to Swiss black metal hermit Wintherr (Paysage d’Hiver) Dis Pater achieves the nearly impossible-to-achieve and creates music in his very own world, as if outside no metal scene with all its trends, its fashions, its sometimes ridiculous headlines and tasteless sucker punches existed. Probably that impression is a result of my own wishful thinking, but listening to the furious final “Carrying The Cries Of The Lost” I’m pretty sure that many of you will understand my enthusiasm: this is music which speaks, pardon: which rages for itself, which doesn’t care about stylistic borders and selling points, but which grasps the listener’s attention with fantastic power. Even in the “long” run – this CD has been in my player for some weeks now! – THE CREVICES BELOW attracts with its atmosphere which is a.o. evoked by Dis Pater’s wide range of whispered, screamed and sung vocals.
One of the first demo tapes I ever bought on a concert, nearly twenty years ago, featured a song called “Mindtrip” – a simple title for a simple song which could be used as description for this beautiful record as well which takes your mind on a trip to distant places and which empowers your imagination to leave the earthly surface behind.
This album doesn’t reinvent any metal style, in fact it’s sometimes simple to the bone, but from a more than just nostalgic angle its aura is as breathtaking as it is beautiful. If I was asked to demonstrate the deep power and magic of ominously dark metal, “The Crevices Below” would be amongst my first choices.
– Thor Joakimsson
01 – Below The Crevices
02 – The Tombs Of Subterranea
03 – A Grand Cavernous Awakening
04 – Whispers Of Sorrow
05 – Trapped In Suicidal Depths
06 – Carrying The Cries Of The Lost