In keeping with the famous Canadian stereotype, Montreal’s Depths Of Hatred are a decidedly polite modern deathcore band. ‘Inheritance’ is a well-mannered, tactful, and surprisingly elegant work, wielding clean vocals, melodic leads, and symphonic orchestration as freely as it does its requisite gutturals and breakdowns.
Based around an intriguing narrative that follows a child born to become a leader of a cult, the concept of ‘Inheritance’ is as thoughtful and well-plotted as its music. Depths Of Hatred‘s brand of extremity is a particularly cerebral take, especially when compared to the intensely physical deathcore released so far this year by Humanity’s Last Breath and Brand Of Sacrifice. The Montreal band’s tastes are a touch more refined than that of their peers, more interested in melody, pace, and clarity of vision.
This calm and nuanced approach defines the tone of ‘Inheritance’. Whereas much of the new wave of deathcore focuses on achieving a maximalist sci-fi aesthetic, Depths Of Hatred‘s music is comparably traditionalist, a candle-lit baroque nightmare in contrast to a cluttered alien battlescape. Even the red and black hues of its cover art evokes a baroque sensibility, its image of an church-based ritual conjuring an old-fashioned air of occult menace.
This traditionalist influence is pronounced across ‘Inheritance’, primarily in its guitar work. The neo-classical leads of opener ‘Enslaved Through Lineage’ are crisp and simple, the power metal opening in ‘Drop Of Red’ is bright and powerful, and the tapped dual guitars that close ‘Emerging As One’ achieve a transcendent beauty without resorting to intense histrionics.
Even Depths Of Hatred‘s use of clean vocals comes across as comparably idiosyncratic in contrast with much of the contemporary deathcore sound. Almost every song utilises new vocalist William Arseneau‘s gruff but soaring voice, with ‘Sadistic Trials’ and ‘The End Of Ourselves’ being especially memorable ￼examples.
While he’s an undoubtedly commanding presence, the grand majesty of each of the eleven tracks of ‘Inheritance’ doesn’t allow him to show much range, and it’s hard to escape the feeling that every clean section features similar melodic phrasings. Still, their use adds to the overall air of grandiloquence, and makes for more varied songcraft.
In terms of heaviness, while ‘Inheritance’‘s breakdowns are fluid, grand, and possess ample space and room to breathe, the one found on ‘Illustrative Obsession’ is especially lush, overlaying the chugs with a simple tremolo guitar that evokes a lilting and strangely buoyant quality. It’s an odd thing to say about a deathcore album, but the generic conventions of ‘Inheritance’ are sometimes oddly tranquil, such as that stunning closing stretch to ‘Emerging As One’, or the quiet piano keys that overlay the end of ‘Fastidious Imitation’.
‘Inheritance’ isn’t especially original, yet what makes it stand out is its sense of familiarity. There’s an austere opulence to its craft that’s missing from both old school deathcore’s meat-headed obnoxiousness and the new wave’s commitment to intense maximalism. It’s a squarely traditional work without ever feeling retro or backwards-looking, and this carefully-walked balance makes for an elegantly enjoyable listen.