Dead Void – Volatile Forms

I became acquainted with Dead Void through their quiet yet mammoth 2018 demo The Looming Spectre. I was neck deep in the melodic style of death/doom, my only experience with more ominous mutterings consisting of Thergothon or Swallowing, so these Danes’ breed of absolutely devastating death/doom hit me like a ton of slimy bricks. As dead and dripping as the walls of R’lyeh, with a megaton weight that more closely recalled funeral doom, it cranked my excitement meter to a solid 11. When Volatile Forms appeared in the promo dump, I hungrily gobbled it up. Does it live up to expectations

Volatile Forms is a death metal album through and through, with hints of subterranean OSDM, bludgeoning doom, and shredding blackened death to round out the plate. Dead Void, in spite of their youth, are knowledgeable of their craft, creating five tracks of grime and spite. By no means as devastating as Phrenelith or as filthy as Undergang, Volatile Forms is still a steamroller of a death metal album, with fierce riffs leading the charge, as manic drumming and fierce bellows bolster a tasty rhythmic complexity that occasionally touches oblivion. While Dead Void’s best days are ahead of them, Volatile Forms is as good a kickstart as any.

Comparisons to acts like Grave Miasma, Chthe’ilist, and Blood Incantation are warranted, but Dead Void hearkens to an older death metal style in the vein of Incantation and Winter, with hints of Angelcorpse. Big atmosphere and megaton weight work in service of the riff. Dead Void has engineered its use of the riff smartly, revolving each track around a single riff that is revisited throughout longer runtimes – a tether to grasp onto. Tracks like “Atrophy” and “Sadistic Mind” feature pummeling passages that drill into your head with intense brutality, while the blackened death tremolo elevate “The Entrails of Chaos” and “The Reptilian Drive.” While Volatile Forms rarely leaves its Incantation-shaped shadow through its first four tracks, closer “Perpetually Circling the Void” makes good on its ominous title, its twelve-minute sprawl feeling like a spiraling descent, its doomy density growing so dense that it nearly descends into noise. To their credit, Dead Void feels organic in its first outing, as every instrument can be heard dueling in small ways in spite of its massive hugeness.

While straightforward death metal is by no means a mark against, the event horizons between its death-doom and blackened death elements are difficult to effectively establish, so the start-stop passage of “Atrophy” also tosses in a war metal solo, or the riff can’t establish itself firmly enough in “The Entrails of Chaos,” pumping the brakes on the momentum. In a strange turn of events, Dead Void feels most energetic in its devastatingly heavy doom tracks because of this, ominously simmering below the surface rather than revealing all its secrets. Furthermore, although doom is an obvious element to Dead Void, to the extent that they are categorized as such across the web, it feels like Winter’s breed of death/doom rather than Ataraxie’s, for instance. When doom is its best asset, I just wish Dead Void would dispense with the blackened death and wild solos altogether. Songwriting, as a result, is hit or miss. While returning to central riffs is done well, transitions between passages (particularly varying tempo or stylistic changes) feel extremely jarring in tracks like “Sadistic Mind” and “The Entrails of Chaos.”

Everything about Volatile Forms is extremely listenable, don’t get me wrong, but none of it is transcendent in a scene overwhelmed by and renowned for its monolithic hugeness. Dead Void’s mile-high potential is hinted in “Perpetually Circling the Void,” but nearly everything else feels like good death metal with a side of doom. While it ultimately does little to step outside genre classics, it manages to barely tread water among contemporaries like Tardus Mortem, Void Rot, and Chaotian. Trimming the fat and smoothening the rough edges will go a long way in revealing the classic sound Dead Void is obviously capable of.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
LabelDark Descent Records | Me Saco Un Ojo
Websitesdeadvoid.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/TheDeadVoid
Releases Worldwide: September 15th, 2022

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