Deuil - Acceptance/Rebuild (EP) (2013)


What you look for in a band is your own prerogative. Sound, construction, production, look; it all factors in to which bands appeal to whom, and why. But sometimes you need a little more than that. You want to go deeper; you want something that is higher on meaning and lower on polish and preening. With their name taken from the French word for "mourning," Deuil have more to offer than just some distorted guitar riffs. They've hit on a concept that we've all had to live through, some more than others. The loss of a loved one, for whatever reason, at whatever stage of our lives, can be a crushing one, often followed by those steps of mourning. The band have picked up with the tail end of that process, touching on the two that are often the most difficult. And with their new EP, the thirty minute, emotionally driven "Acceptance/Rebuild," they take you through their own grieving process, with a musical accompaniment to boot.

With the twenty minute epic, "Acceptance," leading off, you are immediately immersed in a different sort of musical world. The song plays out like the ocean current, with a well defined ebb and flow. In some moments, you have a traditional doom metal atmosphere, dragging and crawling through segments at a deliberately slow pace. There is an inherent sadness to how the music is constructed, expressed through the combination of dark guitar melodies and low, rumbling bass lines. Sure, there are heavier moments, often predicated by grisly screaming vocals. But it is the former that does the lion's share of the work, keeping you all the while awash in shadow. Perhaps just as important is the recording process and resulting sound. Done in a live setting (i.e. the band's practice space), there is also an honesty to it all. The much shorter "Rebuild" is no less profound, though, and takes on an entirely different aesthetic. The tone of the drums has changed noticeably, and the drone elements have come to the fore. But unlike the stereotypical drone band, Deuil manage to create a real mood, real emotion in their instrumental. They also have a tight grip on contrast, as an explosion of distortion and crashing cymbals takes over the last three minutes of the track. That raw aggression is the proverbial icing on the cake.

I think our preconceived notions of what a style or genre is all about keep us away from discovering things that are new and different. Your previous experiences with music classified as drone notwithstanding, this might shed some much needed light, or perhaps darkness, on the word as it pertains to metal. The combination of doom, sludge and drone elements creates something far richer, and far more interesting than the repetitive tides you may have expected. And the true emotional investment this band has made on this effort, which you can plainly hear with each separate movement, might have made all the difference. Their ability to capture that sense of loss and longing is a special talent that is often cast aside in favor of brutal breakdowns, and nonsensical shredding. But they've avoided all the pitfalls here, and produced something that lives up to their own deep seeded feelings of mourning. While this release certainly isn't for everyone, it might hit you harder than you'd expect. Leave your baggage at the door, and let Deuil give you their own version of acceptance and rebuilding.

8/10

Bandcamp - http://deuil.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/wearedeuil