DESCHAIN - Grit Part II: Drift

Deschain - Grit Part II: Drift

4 songs
36:44 minutes
***** ****


Black metal bands often steep their sound into Viking or other ancient European folklore. Deschain from Indiana in the middle of the USA decided they have nothing to do with that kind of culture, and instead concentrated their energies on their own history. Lately, the western genre has become more popular again, with TV shows like Deadwood and Godless and also Stephen Kingís novel series The Dark Tower, from one of whose protagonists Deschain have borrowed their name.

Founded in 2008, the band released two longplayers before they unleashed the first part of their Grit trilogy in 2013. Although its successor was recorded soon after, it took the band due to geographic circumstances several years to finish the mixing process. Although the long wait must have been quite frustrating, the result is well worth the effort. Like its predecessor, this second part of the trilogy is once again a rather short album, consisting of three long tracks and one short instrumental.

The album's opener Dust Of Life begins rather mellowly with acoustic guitar, desert winds, mouth harp and somebody coughing in the background, a little like an unplugged prairie version of Pink Floydís Wish You Were Here. Soon after, electric guitars and the drums join in, resulting in melodic progressive black metal, or should we simply call it post black metal? American black metal has had a great reputation for some time now, with acts like Liturgy and Deafheaven taking the genre to the next level. Deschain donít have to hide behind these bands, although their sound is rather different. As a matter of fact, they donít sound like any other band I have heard before. At times the guitarists pick their instruments at such a high pace that you might think a crazed cowboy on speed is jamming on his banjo. Next up is an untitled three-minute short instrumental that once again conveys the sparse majesty of the American West in an impressive way. Drift is the title track and the highlight of the album. This track practically invents the genre of wild west black metal. Unlike other metal bands that flirt with humorous hillbilly elements, Deschain manage to keep their wild west music gritty and dark as the Wild West actually might have been. Itís really great when the guitar melody is playing a western melody, with the drummer adding a double bass attack that gives the whole song incredibly steam. The album concludes with the extremely varied Descent, at thirteen and a half minutes the albumís longest track.

Some black metal fans are traditionalists, but there are more and more black metal artists that are pushing the boundaries of their genre ever more outward. In the case of Deschain, we get something truly unique, and it can only be hoped that the band will continue in that same original way on the third and last instalment of their Grit trilogy.

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