MetalBite Review by Chris Pratl on 3/14/2019 1:29:42 PM
After a pretty impressive first demo in Exorcism, Depremacy reemerges from the din of such dark beginnings and polished the raw sound they once had into something far more tangible the second time around. The focus has shifted from blackened thrash to standard thrash, but the process was so evenly waxed over that you tend to overlook the change in seconds. These guys are back and better than ever.
Upon taking in Darkness Arise with guitarist Alexi Ascaridis now handling the high-end lead vocals, I'm immediately hit with a higher scream of throaty design that, well, knocked me back a hair or two. As a rule, I'm not a fan of switching vocal tones throughout songs; find a tone and utilize it without deviating from the pattern as it tends to sound too 'screamo' for my liking. The vocals go from the raspy-high to a growling, breathy low (all lows expertly provided by bassist Dan Stapinski), with the latter being the most potent in the opener, “World Domination”. This track showcases a band that has gone through some growing pains, honed its sound nicely, paid attention to detail, and proved that even the best of simple starts can flourish if the flames are turned up. This is one of those songs I can't get out of my head, especially the aforementioned chorus, which is as close to Tom Angelripper as it gets. What can I say? The higher vocals eventually grew on me.
Musically, Depremacy has absolutely dialed it up a few notches; where the first offering has some flaws with production and basic 'tightness' of sound, Darkness Arise amends the early incantation and produces an artful effort that is much more serious than anything attempted beforehand. Again, the lower Stapinski register vocal is my personal preference, but Alexi's vocals in the mid-range vocalization in “Darkness Arise” prove to be a worthy runner-up. The music on this EP far surpasses that of the demo, which is part and parcel for any band, I get that. What I'm saying is that given the right circumstances and care to a recording process, great things can always be achieved. The mix on this recording is so many bounds above the first effort that I can't claim enough exuberance. The vocals are clear, not overwhelming, while each instrument is present and accounted for in crisp and discernible fashion.
I'm not going to say that this is the greatest thing to ever come out of Illinois, but in both passion and presence Depremacy surpasses all of its modern peers and contemporaries in any foot race you choose to produce. The live shows are constant reminders that the band is for real and works hard to carry the movement on its shoulders, and the legions of fans seem to grow with each gig the band infects with unadulterated thrash attacks. The guitar playing from Joe Pongratz is about as heavy and crunching as it gets; the man is dedicated to the creation of heavy, pummeling riffs that are both memorable and interesting. The obvious Pantera influences, combined with elements of early Slayer and Metallica, make for an interesting meshing of archaic influences that, depending on your particular old-school passion, sound as fresh now as they did some decades back.
Darkness Arise preserves the stance that metal, in its rawest form, is a medium to be respected and cherished by a platoon of ready cadets. These guys make me proud to have an otherwise boring state represented so evenly; there's no shortcuts on this EP. As I said, while far from utter brilliance, this band makes dark thrash metal something of a casual fortuity while expecting nothing more than standard antiquity.
Rating: 8 out of 10
(Originally written for www.metalpsalter.com)