Album Review: De Profundis – The Corruption of Virtue
Reviewed by Paul Hutching
Although they are rapidly approaching the veteran stage, London’s death metallers De Profundis aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. Formed in 2005, ‘The Corruption of Virtue’ is their fifth long player, and follows the very solid 2018 ‘The Blinding Light of Faith’.
Technical proficiency is something of a requirement in this genre, and the musicianship that is shown on this album is impressive. There is a high level of interplay between the band, with the rampaging bass lines of Steve Woodcock immediate on the opening tracks ‘Ritual Cannibalism’ and ‘Sectarian Warfare’. As a duo to open an album, you won’t find a stronger pairing with the latter a bludgeoning tool that is sharpened by some ferocious guitar work from Shoi Sen and Paul Nazarkardeh.
What’s noticeable from early on in this album is the cohesive way in which the band interlink. Drummer Tom Atherton is machine-like in his delivery, flexible to slower elements as well as bringing merciless blast beats that underpin each track. The tracks are intricate, complex, and yet retain the underlying primal need that death metal demands. Punishing songs like ‘Weaponised Rape’ tackle challenging subjects, something that often is overlooked for bands of this style. This is a ferocious song, complimented by two soaring solos that rip clear of the huge maelstrom below. Woodcock’s jazz -like bass runs are incredible, whilst we haven’t yet mentioned the gravel-soaked roars of vocalist Craig Land. Ideally suited to the crushing songs the band bring, Land’s style and delivery allows enough clarity to interpret the words he snarls.
As the album progresses, so does the technical quality. The production is crisp, retaining enough earthiness to give it gravitas, but providing clarity to really allow those solos room to soar. And there are ample moments of razor-sharp fretwork throughout the release, with a unique blend of emotive melody and raw grit forming the foundation of the songs.
Of course, it’s death metal and the subject matter is in keeping with the genre’s usual style. ‘Desecrating Innocence’ and ‘Religious Cancer’ maintain the band’s anti-religious stance, combining their message with some stunningly vicious work, especially the latter, which is amongst the most explosive tracks on the album. In fact, the whole release is engrossing, to the extent that another play was in order as soon as the first one had finished.
The power of De Profundis is immense. In nine songs they demonstrate once more why they are one of the UK’s leading proponents in the death metal field. ‘The Corruption of Virtue’ is one of the best death metal albums of 2022. It’s worth checking out purely to find a band who nearly 20 years since their formation, are now hitting their prime!