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Ichor - Depths - 92%

Edmund Sackbauer, September 17th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Bastardized Recordings

Big parts of my CD collection can be labelled as traditional or Old School Metal in one way or another. However, to keep things fresh a few more modern sounding records have found their way into my collection as well. Once in a while I feel the need for something with a really thick sound being the musical counterpart of a steam roller. One studio that is known for that kind of polished and unforgiving sound is Hertz. I am sure those guys could even make any AOR band sound brutal and nasty and this release by the German band Ichor is no exception.

The choice of the studio surely was no coincidence as Ichor share a lot of similarities with bands like Vader or Hate. The riffing is absolutely ferocious and includes all kind of break-downs, staccato and tremolo attacks but also more traditional harmonies. The main chords are alternated by going up or down a few key notes throughout the tracks but always stay memorable so that each song has certain signature elements. The lead work is well implemented and consists of a lot of small interludes and a few longer soloing sections. Some of the harmonies have a disturbing and slightly chaotic feeling but they are embedded within the tracks in a way that they perfectly work in the overall context.

The drumming is relentless and keeps the intensity high for the most part. However, Ichor included a lot of parts with mid-tempo grooves giving the consumer a chance to take a breath. While the instrumentation is quite complex the band is helping the passive listener to keep track of what is going with stringent songwriting and straight-forward elements. I can imagine that the most difficult task when playing such a kind of music is to not only showcase technicality and brutality but present actual songs that will leave an impact on the fan. Ichor just managed to do this on quite a few songs although it will take a bit of concentration and more than one spin to fully appreciate what is going on.

A point could be made by saying that the album starts sounding a bit samey in the final third but on the other hand the same could be said about most other albums of the genre. The running time is over 42 minutes which is a bit longer than what can be found on most modern/brutal/technical DM albums.

I can wholeheartedly recommend “Depths” to anyone looking for an intense and brutal musical assault. Rounded off by a classy cover artwork by Pär Olofsson this is an expertly executed and recorded piece of Metal music.