Silence of the Centuries reviews

HeirOfNothing on July 30th, 2012

Gentle death metal.

There's a strange breed of death metal out there not following in their ever-brutalizing forefathers' footsteps. Ironically, Florida's Brutality, at least on their debut, is the first exponent of this breed I came across. Despite not lacking in vocal bestiality and double-kick poundings, they carried an aura of sweet, melancholic dreams and Elysian bliss.

Depravity's take (be it consciously or not) on this rather contradictory idea is very much a product of its Finnish surroundings. Listening to this album, especially in its entirety and in the right spacial surroundings, transports you to a world not unlike Demigod's or Adramelech's. The difference lies in its hospitality; whereas Demigod's creation bewilders you with its cryptic surroundings and Adramelech's empire overwhelms you with its might, Depravity welcomes you to a nocturnal dominion inhabited by wretched, yet, unlike the cover art would suggest, kind folk.

For a more hands-on discussion of the music presented, let me say that aside from falling into this strange aesthetic, Depravity know how to write a damn song. The title track is a perfect testament of that: a more or less straight-forward, yet typically Finnish riff gradually gives way to the misty atmosphere that permeates the album through increasingly blackened riffs and a brilliantly composed guitar solo.

What lead me to question Depravity's awareness of their aesthetic effect is the strange mixing. The rhythm guitar, though being on top of the whole thing, seems to take a back seat, with a tone that would thrive in a very dense mix, but instead, the overall tone of the album is spacious and ethereal, or maybe just too gap-ridden. Fixing the lack of a prominent bass guitar would do great things to improve this, but even then, the contrast between the very focused rhythm guitar tone and the full-bodied, expressive, heavily reverb'd lead guitar would still be strange. When working in conjunction, they complement each other perfectly, but upon parting ways, something seems missing. Luckily, the drums and vocals don't sound too up-front or processed, which is wholly appropriate.

On the whole, Silence of the Centuries falls just short of fully accomplishing what lies at the end of the road they're on: there's a slight chance those kind wretches are just grumpy old men too senile to be of any harm.

I bet it's great to smoke weed and huddle together under the blanket to, though.

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__Ziltoid__ on September 12th, 2010

Hey, It's Finndeath!

More Finnish death metal!!!

This slab of awesome death metal is an EP from Finland’s Depravity. Silence Of The Centuries is one of the lesser known of the great old school death metal releases from Finland, but it’s awesome nonetheless. At only five tracks and 21 minutes long, this could easily be overlooked in favor of longer, more popular releases. Still, these five tracks do more than most full-length albums do.

Depravity bring a very interesting style of Finndeath to the table. The title track starts things off, and is an excellent example of what this EP presents. The verse riffs are often fast, short, and often repeated quite often throughout a song. But they’re exceptionally catchy for Finndeath, especially since the riffs are split equally into groovy riffs and tremolo picked riffs. Then there is a transition into a slower chord progression, which eventually leads into the solo, with the verse riff reappearing. It may be formulaic, but it’s a quality formula! Of course, “that tone” is present, so it certainly has that definitive Finnish sound, especially in the riffs, but it feels a bit different from most Finndeath.

This difference is most obvious in the solos. Frankly, these solos are fucking awesome. Yes, every single one of them. They utilize speed in such an effective way to create a dark, evil, and downright sinister sound that fits ever so perfectly into their songs. Each of these is the definition of an “appropriate solo” in that each is restrained, not overly wanky, yet also ambitious enough to keep the listener’s interest while also fitting within the context of the song. I think my favorite solo on the album might be in ‘Sleepy Ocean,’ so definitely check that out (and yes, I know that “Sleepy Ocean” is a silly-sounding song title). You’ll immediately understand what I mean. Sure, lots of Finnish death metal songs have good solos, but these immediately stuck out to me as being high-quality stuff.

Being an old death metal EP, nobody would expect good production here. I’m still undecided to this day whether the production is good or not. On one hand, everything is crystal clear and mixed well. But on the other hand, it doesn’t have that completely muddy sound that Finnish death metal is known for. There just seems to be less emphasis on mid and low end frequencies. Still, this production should satisfy a lot of listeners. I just think that it could have been a bit more bass-heavy. That’s a minor complaint though, because the individual instruments do sound quite good, especially the guitars during solos.

This may not be as good as something like Demigod’s Slumber Of Sullen Eyes, but for any serious fan of old school death metal, especially of the Finnish variety, I highly recommend this. Also, all of those crappy weedily weedily tech death bands that are all the rage these days could take a lesson from Depravity and learn how to write a good solo.

Written for

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Dark_Mewtwo1 on August 7th, 2008

Flawed darkness

I love this little EP. It's pretty charming. I really wanted to go ahead and give this a 90+ score like the rest of the reviews do, but there are some serious flaws here. Personally, the flaws make it that more unique, similar to At the Gates' Red in the Sky is Ours and that strange guitar tone, but I know that there are people who won't agree, so I'll address the issues accordingly.

First off, the production is great. It's the strongest part of this release. It gives all the songs a sort of mystical feel to them, akin to being out at sea stuck in a deep fog. The mix is soaked in reverb of some sort, and it adds quite a bit of depth to the music. The music is a different story, however. It's very minimalistic. Usually, you don't find that in death metal, so my first go-around with Silence of the Centuries was not what I expected to hear. However, just like many minimalistic black metal albums, the end result is more important. It was strange to hear some of the simple riffs going on here and accept it as death metal. The aesthetic is very black metal and the music reflects that quite a bit. There's use of tremolo riffs throughout, with a steady drum beat similar to many hypnotic black metal bands.

While altogether it combines to make an enjoyable listen, there's quite a bit wrong with it. A lot of times it sounds like there is only one guitar playing, either it gets drowned out or it was poorly recorded. Its especially noticeable when tremolo riffs are used, there's nothing behind them except the drums. And speaking of the drums, they're quite sloppy. Many of the fills feel incompleted or very messily played. Some of the blasts feel out of time, like the drummer couldn't keep up. I usually don't have a problem with that, but I expect more from a death metal release. The riffs themselves are quite simple, and very repetitive, so it may not be for everyone, but they do their job quite well, and it fits the theme of the album. The vocals are probably the part I like most, they remind me of the vocals on Adramelech's Psychostasia: cold and distant, and perfect for the mood of each track. The band had the right idea there.

All in all, it takes a bit to get used to what this mini-album tries to deliver. It may take you a few spins to get used to this simplistic style of death metal. Once you do, you'll love the dark feeling you get from the record, its a pretty interesting release, and one that many black and death metal fans would really enjoy. I do. The minor setbacks in the recording shouldn't be enough to put you off. I do wish it was longer, it has a great atmosphere that most death metal bands don't, but that's hardly a complaint. Definitely worth a listen

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PerpetualDusk on October 9th, 2007

Long ago, in a distant past...

Depravity is the living proof that you don't need any synthesizers to create a atmosphere that haunts and excites you at the same time. While I listend to this moster, I felt like walking through a dungeon and waiting for something to jump out of the forest and grab me by my balls and torture the fuck out of me. In fact, the frontcover of "Silence of the Centuries" describes the feeling you get while you bang your head to the music. This album is so spooky, so gloomy and scary, I seriously don't recommend this to anyone who thinks that he has paranoia. I am so fascinated by this album, I can't find much words to review it, trust me, this album leaves you speechless. Imagine a mixture of Liers In Wait and Entombed's "Left Hand Path", and you have a clue how this album sounds like. But except for the spooky atmosphere, what does this album deliver?

The vocals aren't anything too special, like Demilich or Asphyx (Martin-Era), but they fit perfectly. While the music scares the shit out of you, the vocals guid you through the mist. And talking about music: Riffs fuckin' riffs! The ideas captured on this album and perfected with the combination of the vocals and drums is essential. Trust me, once you heard this album, you won't forget their riffs ever again. Fast, slow and here and there some doomy parts. Same for the drums, you have somes varietys, fast double-bass druming and snare-crushing hits, but yet some slow parts, like in "Phantasmagoria", which is by the way the song which I liked the most!

"Silence of the Centuries" is an album for all the death metal fanatics out their who want to know their roots. This was death metal long ago, in a distant past...the bloody underground!

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DeathGrinder666 on August 28th, 2005

Underrated Finnish Death Metal

Few albums match the brilliance of this underrated masterpiece. Depravity is one of those old Scandinavian death metal bands from the early 90s that gets swollen up in the big cesspool that is early 90s Scandinavian death metal. With a big resemblance in sound to their fellow countrymen Demigod, Depravity manage through their superior song writing skills and dark atmosphere to elevate themselves above the countless clone acts, which plagued the scene back in the day.

What makes this album so outstanding is the atmosphere is captures. The atmosphere captures the essence of doom and fatality, giving a much similar feel to Cemetery's "An Evil Shade Of Grey". This is not a funeral doom album though, as the description might give that impression, this is straight Scandinavian death, the connection between this and doom metal solely resides in the atmosphere that both Depravity and Doom metal can capture. The cover art is a good source to convey the feeling this album gives off, coldness, disparity, abandonment, isolation, and an inability of expressing inner conflicts, which would also suggest the title of the album "Silence Of The Centuries" .

Depravity makes use of very infectious tremolo riffs, spacey keyboards (see the outro of "Vacuum of Thoughts"), and drone like riffs that add to the overall atmosphere, but the best moments on this album are the solos. The solos are used with a lot of reverb, again for the atmosphere. They start out at slow pace and use some interesting time tempos. They completely fill the entire space and take up the main focus point, and they possess very trance like qualities. Best solos are on "Sleepy Ocean", "Silence Of The Centuries", and "Phantasmagoria". The drumming, although not the main focus of the album, does a good job at collaborating with the guitars and provides excellent back during "Vacuum of Thoughts", and "Remasquerade". The vocals here are standard death metal but they aren’t given as much force in the production and are leaning over to an Amorphis-like growl, not forceful but more of a low undertone or bellow. They fit the music perfectly. Everything on this album comes together perfectly to create the atmosphere and feeling that it means to express.

Depravity "Silence Of The Centuries" is full force death metal but it possess the emotions found in doom. I haven’t heard many things that counter this beautiful masterpiece in the realm of Scandinavian death ("Slumber of Sullen Eyes" and "The Winterlong" being two exceptions). The only draw back on this album is its length, its too short and only five songs long. That's very minor though, this is excellent, a must own for every fan of the old times. Highly recommended to fans of God Macabre, Cartilage, Demigod, Gorement, Decomposed, and any majestic doom metal that despairs the soul.

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ArtOfWar on May 16th, 2004

Crushing death

Depravity is one of those bands that is so unknown, once you find them and hear their music, you feel like you've discovered a true gem that is all your own. Hailing from the fertile Death Metal land known as Finland, Depravity play heavy, soul crushing Death Metal with just the right amount of melody tossed in for near perfect effect. The music on this release is damn near perfect, especially the guitar solos, that have an almost Thrash/Rock quality to them. Hearing solos like this on a Death Metal album is just something that brings a huge smile to your face. This is the type of album that just drags you down with it's heaviness, then makes you feel like you're soaring with it's soul scorching solos. The vocals on this release are extremely low, but suprisingly not of the complete growl variety. Imagine Antti Bowman from Demilich, only 1 or 2 octaves higher, and you get the idea. Only 2 things make this album less then perfect. One, it's way too short. When I listen to this, I can't help but wish Depravity had added 4 or 5 more songs to this release. Second, some of the solos, while truly amazing to behold, sound almost the same. In at least 2 of the songs, the solos sounded nearly identical. Other then that, this album is worth seeking out.

I believe Adipocere still has this available in their catalog, so track down their site and offer yourself to Depravity.

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Silence of the Centuries track list

1Silence of the Centuries03:52
2Sleepy Ocean04:06
5Vacuum of Thoughts05:20

Silence of the Centuries lineup

EnskaGuitars (lead)