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An ordinary suicidal/depressive black metal demo - 65%

Verd, October 22nd, 2011

"Desolate passages..." is the second and last to date demo by the one-man band Espials von Lethe (where "espial" is basically "the act of spying", "von" is German for "of"/"from" and Lethe refers, obviously, to the Ancient Greek river of Hell and to his homonymous spirit of forgetfulness and oblivion, Lēthē), created by Vallsbyrd Miirxaa from Texas and devoted to a classical suicidal/depressive black metal, on the trails of acts like Abyssic Hate, old Shining, Nocturnal Depression, Twilight and so on. Representing a pretty "limited" and somewhat-strictly-canonized subgenre, in the so-called suicidal/depressive scene is often the voice that makes the difference, and it's worthy to note since the beginning that Miirxaa's voice is pretty unique: it fits well the kind of atmospheres the songs create, with a particular "distorted" effect that characterizes it along the whole demo.

The second track of this demo, Despondent depths of affliction, is the most interesting of it and it opens with a pretty fast double bass (drum machine-producted, of course, as the genre requests) accompanied by a repetitive guitar riff and some distorted and screamy vocals: these vocals are - actually - the main point of interest and diversification, as I have already punctualized. The song itself has some changes of rythm, with many slow and guitar-only passages: it's actually nothing new, but it's really enjoyable for those who like distorted/scream vocals and repetitive melodies as you can find on lots of suicidal/depressive records.

The first track, entitled Torching the barren woodland, has the same drum machine and repetitive guitars as the song I described before: no other instruments are used, and even here is the singer's voice that adds an enjoyable look to the whole song, which otherwise would be a pretty boring suicidal/depressive song like we have been hearing for years and years. I chose to talk about the second (and last) track at the beginning of this review mainly because overall it's more enjoyable than this one, but - of course - you'll like both of them if you're into this subgenre even for the ordinary songs and not only for what concerns masterpieces like Austere's or Forgotten Tomb's productions.

In the end, nothing new is brought to us by Espials von Lethe: its suicidal/depressive black metal is well played and even well recorded for a self-producted demo, and even if mastermind Miirxaa's voice is pretty unique and enjoyable, the whole album will likely be set aside after some listenings even from those who are really into this subgenre. It isn't unworthy to listen to this demo and to his predecessor, "Verwelkendes Waldland" (German for "Withering forest land"), but we aren't either in front of a masterpiece. I still would like to hear more from this band, which has a good potential, but since it seems that, as of 2011, no one knows if Espials von Lethe is still active or not, the only thing we can do is to wait and to give a try to Miirxaa's two good demos.