De Profundis – The Corruption of Virtue

De Profundis is a great band who gets a lot of love behind the scenes at AMG HQ, but somehow routinely misses out on full coverage. This kind of thing occurs occasionally and for a number of perfectly understandable reasons, of course. But after seventeen years of diligent work, it’s high time that the English death metal quintet get a proper review from us for their sixth full-length, The Corruption of Virtue. And, as is our prerogative, we bring this review to you late. That alone should tell you that The Corruption of Virtue is a great death metal record, and that you should probably skip the review and just go buy it outright.

If I struggled to appreciate De Profundis’ previous wrecking ball, The Blinding Light of Faith, it’s only because I was blind and faithless.1 Not so with The Corruption of Virtue, which hooked me immediately and left me scarred and bleeding, but in a good way. This troupe infect my brain with indelible grooves reminiscent of The Flaying, the perfect measure of proggy kinks a-la Death, and a bass performance that would make Obscura blush. To complement that formula, The Corruption of Virtue melds the filthy sounds of US death metal—especially that which spawns from the swamps of Florida—with a touch of the polish and melodic sensibility common to many Swedish projects, olde and new. Rhythmically, this record spans the deathened gamut, adopting the same pointed oscillations we see in technical death metal licks, while simultaneously carving out deep OSDM grooves. A ridiculously satisfying fretless bass tone rounds out the space with the support of a drummer possessing an encyclopedic practical knowledge of all patterns known to the metalverse and beyond.

With each subsequent spin of The Corruption of Virtue, selecting my favorite moments becomes more and more difficult. However, I can say without a whiff of doubt that “Ritual Cannibalism” is perhaps the bounciest, grooviest piece of death metal to open a record all year. It’s also a near-perfect encapsulation of everything De Profundis do well, including but not limited to their excellent sense of timing when injecting proggy phrases amidst tons of straightforward demolition. “Relentless March” features a relatively understated melodic undercurrent, and yet that small thread elevates the track and creates the first landmark for the album’s subtle stylistic evolution across its runtime. This clever foreshadowing resolves once you reach the album’s three-pronged highlight, comprised of “Desecrating Innocence,” “Religious Cancer,” and “Scapegoat.” Training technical leads, progressive time signature shifts, and some of the album’s most memorable riffs into lean, muscular forms, these three juggernauts showcase De Profundis’ ample playing skills without showboating or sullying the album’s cohesion.

As much difficulty as I have choosing highlights to feature in this writeup, I find it even more challenging singling out The Corruption of Virtue’s weak points. There’s very little fat to be trimmed from this record; the best songs don’t place that far ahead of the “worst;” and the pacing across the board not only generates but also maintains a healthy momentum throughout. Even the lyrics are a cut above the standard from what I can gather, which is a lot more than usual thanks to a dynamic and coherent delivery. De Profundis could, however, tighten up the closing track, “The Sword Verses,” further, as it feels slightly bloated despite clocking in at just under five minutes. Additionally, a couple of songs early on in the record (“Sectarian Warfare,” for instance) come dangerously close to recycling riffs, drumming sequences, or other features introduced in the opener. They never actually commit such misdemeanors, but the threat of self-plagiarism nonetheless casts a pale shadow over the first quarter of the record, and siphons just a bit of impact from otherwise unfuckwithable tunes.

Such minor qualms are easily forgotten in the blinding light of The Corruption of Virtue’s many virtues. After spending a solid week and change with this release, I wonder why De Profundis isn’t more celebrated in the death metal community. Perhaps I simply didn’t heed the well-deserved hype, spending way too much time under a fucking rock ignoring these Brits. Those days are officially over. I’ve stepped into the light, touched grass, and been blessed with De Profundis’ glory, once and for all.

Editor’s Addendum ov Steel: Both AMG Himself and Steel Myself were originally booked to review this one but life waylaid us. I’m very high on this one and I’m pretty sure AMG likes it a bunch as well. The Sponge speaks truth to death power.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: October 7th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. Since I began listening to this new one, I’ve also revisited The Blinding Light of Faith, and it clicked hard enough to break my face.
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