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With a beautiful cover-art photo of the open ocean and the blue sky far into the distance from the viewpoint of someone standing close to the edge of a cliff, this album promises to lead us on a voyage that might take us far, far away from the cares and strains of modern life and into confronting our inner demons and darkness. "The Depths" is the third album for Colorado one-man atmospheric BM project Cover Of Night who hitherto seems to have flown under most people's radar. For a fairly new act with not many recordings under its belt, Cover of Night plays some very powerful and dramatic music with impressive style that befits its aims.
On most songs the music is energetic with thumping percussion and grinding guitars bristling with distortion and menace. Clear lead guitar solos contrast with the black metal foundation and lend a sometimes melancholy melodic post-metal edge to CoN's style. This is enhanced by periods of summery dreaminess where a guitar tone might quiver against a dark background that seems to glow with a soft golden sheen. The music can be uplifting, even soaring and majestic. The only downside I can find is that the vocals are very weak and (as though to compensate for the thinness) pushed far back behind the music under such heavy distortion that they can barely be distinguished from noisy static.
While individual tracks like "Last Squall / Rudderless" are very good with big meaty crunchy riffs and muscular drumming, I have to say that on the whole the music lacks a clear identity. CoN doesn't have a distinctive sound or style that would differentiate the band from so many other nature-themed atmospheric BM bands. The music goes from edgy BM to late-summer post-metal lullaby trilling but there's hardly any sign of dark unease that might keep listeners tense and alert. Even field recordings of looming storm clouds and chill winds fail to raise goosebumps and listeners might wonder why the music drops out at the very point when it should be throwing them deep into Davy Jones' locker, never to return to land.
The concept behind the album is solid and CoN's black metal side backs it strongly - but the result feels too tame and restrained and needs some ferocity. We should be shit-scared going out to sea and possibly pitting ourselves against the elements, testing our strength and inner resources, and this album should be the soundtrack to that journey.