Pittsburgh can be a pretty gloomy place, especially in the winter, but I’d imagine there are a lot of places that feel the same way right now. There’s no way to avoid the negativity that’s been in the air for the past few years, and the more time you spend online or around other people, you know that even if we don’t fuck up the 2020 election, it’s a virus that will not have been stamped out.
I cite Pittsburgh because that’s where Deathwhite hail, but I mention the nationwide and even global toxicity because it’s cited in the bio material for their great second record “Grave Image.” Truth is something that barely exists in its true form anymore, as so many people have been hypnotized into believing bullshit and aggressively attacking those who don’t fall for the same scheme. On top of that, there’s serious questions about the survival of our planet, a topic those same people will tell you is a lie and a fraud no matter there being absolutely no sensible reason why anyone would make this up. So, it is with this second record, the follow up to 2017’s “For a Black Tomorrow,” that this shrouded band (they exist in anonymity and protect their identities very tightly) returns, sounding downright dark and morbidly gothic. The singing is even murkier than before, which suits the new material quite well, and the entire band seems to be in mourning for a tomorrow that isn’t realty guaranteed.
“Funeral Ground” starts the album slowly fading in and, once it sets up, gushing all over. The powerful singing pushes through with the call of, “Breathe! Try to reach out,” over the chorus before the song trickles away. “In Eclipse” has guitars stirring and whispery stabs, and singing that borders on crooning, which we mean in a nice way. The track darkens and lets ice form while the chorus trikes back, and the track ends abruptly. “Further from Salvation” unveils shadowy guitars and riffs that drive harder, as the call of, “The shame, it’s too much to bear,” hits a little too close to home. The pace chugs while the drums explore, as the admission, “Salvation is now even farther from me,” brings the song to a sobering end. The title track has guitars liquifying before a power surge strikes, sparking electricity. “No illusion in front of me, this gray image of pestilence,” creates a sorrowful setting as soloing burns hard, leading into cold, unforgiving rains. “Among Us” explodes from the gates with moody singing and chunky playing that leaves bruising. The song plays with light and dark with a strong chorus powering the way and the final moments bleeding into silence.
“Words of Dead Men” has a clean open with the admission, “The darkness is closing in,” before the track turns ashen. The playing is quaking and emotional, feeling solemn as the soloing creates more texture, and the call of, “I have nothing else to cure me now,” ends the song in hopelessness. “No Horizon” rains gently from above, working its way into the mists, and then things start to get a bit more jagged. The tones feel largely morose and slurry as gothy playing dominates before the guitars chew nails again and end the song on a more aggressive note. “Plague of Virtue” is trudging as it establishes an atmospheric ambiance, and the invitation, “Join me to watch the end,” is as much an admission of bleakness as anything on here. The playing kicks up and does damage again as the song ends in a flame that consumes it from the inside. “A Servant” bashes away as it begins, bloodying lips with the declaration, “Harsh light upon me, but I still see.” The guitars really stir, while the vocals are a little grittier here, giving a rougher edge to this cry of desperation. “Return to Silence” concludes the album, starting with a strange passage and hushes singing. The song kicks into gear with a particularly jarring chorus and the admission, “Mercy is now dissolved.” The demeanor softens as the song reaches its end, working its way through mystical haze before fading for good.
No idea if the world and our country can wake up in enough time to inject some sense back into our lives, but if not, Deathwhite have crafted the perfect funeral soundtrack for our demise. “Grave Image” is a powerful statement, a record that should have them in the conversation regarding who is making the dreariest doom metal on this planet, and I mean that as a compliment. Things aren’t over yet, but music like this serves as a reminder that our situation is delicate, and we don’t seem to give a fuck.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/deathwhiteofficial
To buy the album (North America), go here: https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/
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For more on the label, go here: http://www.season-of-mist.com/