Finnish symphonic doom/death metal band Depressed Mode will release their long-awaited third album Decade of Silence on the 6th of May via Inverse Records.
So called, I assume, as it has been over a decade of silence, with 12 years having passed since the band’s 2009 release, ..For Death… Depressed Mode was established in 2005 by composer Otto Salonen. They signed a contract with Firebox Records for two albums in 2006 with the debut release, Ghosts Of Devotion coming in 2007. It was very well received and garnered really good reviews throughout the media. The second album “..For Death” released in 2009, was a success, and a step towards more symphonic death/doom metal, with great reviews as well. Then came the gap, though apparently for no particular reason, just real life, family and the like. Good reasons.
I’m sure fans probably expected that Depressed Mode may never be active again, being a relatively new band now on an indefinite hiatus but out of the blue, Otto Salonen begun composing Depressed Mode’s third album in January 2020.
The album was recorded and mixed at Ansa Studio by Teemu Heinola and Otto Salonen during 2021, the same year when Depressed Mode signed a deal with Inverse Records to release Decade of Silence.
There have been four singles has been released from Decade of Silence so far. If you have been keeping up with them, you have pretty much heard half of the album already. Decade of Silence arrives with 9 tracks in total and gets underway with the single, Death Walks Among Us. Starting with a strong symphonic section, the feeling of morbid grandiosity runs thick and suggests a black metal styling. Interest is rapidly growing into excitement and when the drums and riffs drop in to join the symphony, well, my mind is instantly blown. The vocals are deep and full of aggression and the heavy death metal riffing combines beautifully with the symphony. Powerful drums and clever little leads guitar lines elevate the track further before a powerful, more cleanly sung chorus adds another layer of infection. This is a brilliant start to Decade of Silence.
Two more of the singles follow with Endless November and Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind. The former is a mammoth near 8 minute track that carries on the stylings of the opener with a nice and dark atmospheric orchestration mixing with the metal, this time, at least at the start sitting more in a traditional doom camp. Clean, haunting vocals mix with seriously slowed down drums and bassy guitars while a nice keys melody sits hiding in the background. Veronica Bordacchini’s vocals are sublime and the harmonising between here and the male vocals is stunning. The pace picks up as the song evolves with death metal vocals joining in with the clean female tones and plenty more twists and turns on the way.
Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind has a phenomenal, gorgeous guitar solo in the intro that demanded instant replaying. It twists into a dark and grotesque slowed down beast with vicious vocals sitting on a sombre tone. It builds to a chorus that demands action, grooving, heavy with emphatic backing, the drums are fire and your head has to move. Depressed Mode are on fire.
As the Light Dims hits the near 9 minute mark, starting with a delicate piano melody, violins join in and you find yourself transported and deeply moved. A thick and lush guitar tone joins in as almost folk like vocals take hold. It is so damn beautiful, I mean, really. Wow. The clean vocals, male and female, work together in a song that is just magical. Dark, oppressive in a way but also elevating and full of promise. Depressed Mode take you on a journey here through different feelings with gentler sections soothing your soul before heavier sections shale you back to reality.
Parasites of Mind keeps the style going strong with a hypnotic orchestra. A clever move as I got sucked in before the heaviest section of music on Decades of Silence exploded into my ears with blast beats and growls all shaking me to my core. It settles into a slamming groove with crunchy riffs but always that backing orchestration to add depth and class. These slam sections give way back and forth to the heavier assault eventually building up to an epic, majestic chorus that makes use of a lot of echo to really fill your ears. Kaamos (Land of Winter) has a nice, poppy start actually, a steady rhythm and more uplifting sound from the symphony leads into a catchy number. It keeps the steady rhythm for large parts of the song adding in that familiar mix of clean and harsh vocals and tempo changes.
Even this far into Decade of Silence, it feels so fresh and exciting. Testament to the quality on display.
Serpents goes to town on the orchestra in the early stages before changing into a chunky riff monster that will get every head in hearing rage moving. The drums, again, are just excellent. The riffs are powerful and heavy and the vocals switch from death metal growls into that clean, haunting doom style. Little piano intermissions add so much to the song, bridging haunting and heavier sections perfectly. Yet another track I absolutely adore. Eternal Darkness keeps the quality high with another cracker. There aren’t many surprises here, it’s just another top quality track. A beautiful and heavy blend of delicate orchestration with more forceful metal instruments and tones. Harmonising vocals in the chorus are glorious in your ears before the verses drop in a blast of aggression sure to swell any mosh pit.
So we sadly reach the end with Aeternus. An over 12 minute epic, in every since of the word. While it doesn’t necessarily add anything new to what I now know of Depressed Mode, this track takes all the very best elements and blends them into a twisting, hypnotic masterpiece. A lengthy symphonic build up sets the scene perfectly, getting you well and truly engaged and focused. It’s almost teasing – you know it will transform, but can’t quite pick the when. And when the when comes, it comes in a thick and crushing, slow thump. Desperately harsh vocals join the song, slow thumping bass lines and drums join and then, a high tone lead guitar adds another layer. It’s huge. Massive.
The track, like the album, continues to twist and evolve as it plays out. Chunky heavy sections, piano intermissions, and grandiose re-joining of all instruments. Never predictable, always impressive – I feel almost trance like while listening, just happily lost within the layers.
Aeternus is the exact right way to end an album of such dark majesty. Decade of Silence is a stunner. A jaw dropping work of art that just gives and gives with each passing minute. You are kept on your toes as the band stretch creative muscle, delving into many different genres to create an album that should make massive waves in metal. 10 years have passed, you may not even know who Depressed Mode, are but a single listen to Decade of Silence and you won’t ever forget them.
Pre-Order Decade of Silence from Inverse Records here.
Decade of Silence by Depressed Mode (Inverse Records)
The Final Score - 10/10