With 2017 drawing to a conclusion, we’ve seen so many incredible albums released by Australian bands in the past few months alone. But from the far reaches of Perth, one band threatens to topple all of them with a release so unique and evocative that it cannot be ignored. The band is Deadspace, and the album is their brand new 9 track glimpse into desolation, The Liquid Sky.
An intro to a record has one job, to set the stage for the rest of the album to unfold upon. ‘The Aching…’ achieves this wholeheartedly, with its gloomy yet serene layers giving the first glimpse of what is yet to come, before exploding into the monstrous track that is ‘Void’. The first thing I immediately noticed was how crisp and full the production is compared to the band’s previous releases, which works in favour for the album in so many ways. Every single instrument and layer sits perfectly in the mix, giving room to showcase the talent of each individual band member. The dual shrieks and cleans of vocalist Chris Gebauer work together in a beautiful harmony that makes the sorrowful concept of the album so much more convincing and real, especially when coupled with the narrative driven delivery of the lyrics.
As the album continued to unveil itself, one thing that became apparent was how damn versatile this record is. While the DSBM foundations of the music lay deep at the core, The Liquid Sky incorporates so many different elements that make the band stand ahead of the pack. Tracks like the aforementioned ‘Void’ and the band’s flagship single for the album, ‘Reflux’, play on familiar territory for Deadspace while still feeling fresh, while other songs such as ‘Below the Human Scumline’ and ‘The Worms Must Feed’ expand into these dark and ambient sections that give the songs some air before throwing the listener back into the maelstrom.
By far though, the track that took me most by surprise though is ‘Kidney Bleach’. This 4 minute ballad is straight up beautiful, comprised of acoustic guitar and a stunning vocal duet by Gebauer and guest vocalist Portia Gebauer. With a strong resemblance to mid 2000’s Goth/Alt rock, the change in pace this far into the album felt refreshing and welcome. Because each song is comprised of so many different elements, I constantly found myself eagerly awaiting the next track to see what it had to offer, and was never left disappointed or bored thanks to the many layers of intricacies that the album presents.
The twin guitar attack of Oliver Royer and Thomas Major forms the foundation of the band’s new direction, with the standard tremolo picked fury being replaced by slower, more intricate riffs when the story dictates it. There’s also a strong alt rock vibe present throughout the entire album, seamlessly flowing in and out amidst the sea of blackened chaos that the band has well and truly made their home. The flawless drumming of Herb Bennetts coupled with the complimentary style of bassist Shelby Jansen provides a backbone that carries the album from start to finish, and I never felt like any section had one particular member showing off. Instead the whole band works together every step of the way, providing a canvas for the lyrics to tell their story.
The Liquid Sky tells the story of a man at the end of his rope, looking back on his life with discontent and falling into a continuous spiral of isolation and self-hatred. I won’t spoil it for anyone but the lyrical content starts off dark and only gets grimmer as the album progresses. The lyrics and music work hand in hand though, with the different moods and cries for help being reflected by the band changing dynamics, and the feel of the riffs matching the agony of the character in this really cool rock opera kind of way. I think the concept shines through really well with this album, and would highly recommend a listen through while sitting in front of the lyrics booklet to get the full effect of what the band have created with this record. Just don’t forget to pack a copy of Cool Runnings to make you feel better after the album reaches its haunting climax. I’m yet to listen to the closing title track without having shivers down my spine the entire time, which I’m sure is exactly what the band’s intention was.
In closing, I must say that this is an album that feels like the full package, and was intended to be listened to that way. Something about it just grabbed me from the moment the intro rolled, and didn’t let me go until well after the finale. After my first listen through I sat stunned, trying to make sense of what I’d just heard before jumping straight back in for one of many repeat listens. Fans and newcomers alike will fall under the same spell I did with this record, as the album is not just a collection of songs, but rather an experience to immerse yourself in time and time again.
Pre-order The Liquid Sky here!