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Deep XI : Mountain Of The Dead

Finland's Deep XI deliver a lean, sinewy debut full-length album with no flab, and plenty of malevolent Trad Doom muscle.

Following a couple of earlier releases and a 2014 EP, 'Celebrity Death' (all recorded under the moniker Deep), 'Mountain Of The Dead' is the debut full length album from Finland's Deep XI. The band are a three-piece power trio comprising Sami Vehmersuo on guitars and vocals, Toni Haapanen on bass and Thomas Luoma on drums. And like all good power trios, Deep XI have an energy and cohesiveness to their sound that more than compensates for their lack of personnel. This exciting debut features a predominantly Trad Doom sound with elements of Gothic Metal and '70s inspired Proto Metal thrown into the mix for good measure. Earth shatteringly original it is not, but it's a ballsy, energetic debut with no filler involved.

'In the Space Between' kicks things off with a mid-tempo, bluesy riff and a powerful vocal which expertly combines menace and melancholy into a textbook Doom delivery. It may be covering old ground, but it covers it with a zest and conviction that's impossible to fault. It's a positive start to Deep XI's first full length, and a sign of things to come as the album progresses. With a duration of around 38 minutes it's relatively brief - at least in comparison to many albums within the Doom genre - this does ensure a lean, sinewy album with no flab, and plenty of malevolent Trad Doom muscle.

Maintaining its energy, aggression and attitude throughout the full 8 tracks, there are few low points, but plenty of highlights. 'Vampire Night' is a fine example of this Doom power trio's strengths with its groove-laden bass intro, bluesy '70s inspired Proto Metal riff and hook-laden chorus is one to get even the most melancholy of Doom aficionados shaking their tail feathers. And each track, on the whole, manages to keep this momentum going. If there's one small criticism to make, it's that the album could perhaps have benefit from a few more changes of pace here and there, but it would be churlish to dwell too much on this, when the staple sound of Deep XI is so enjoyable. As the old maxim goes, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'.

Overall, Deep XI have succeeded in delivering a strong, highly enjoyable first full-length album. A ballsy trio with more groove and attitude than many bands with twice their number, they are no-nonsense, unpretentious purveyors of crunching Trad Doom. No lofty concepts, no unnecessary experimentation, just a solid blow to the solar plexus. And sometimes that's just exactly what the doctor ordered. Good stuff.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. In The Space Between
2. Violet Breath
3. Failures
4. Souls That Are Damned
5. Vampire Night
6. Conjuration Of I
7. Wizards Of Our Time
8. Mountain Of The Dead

Duration : Approx. 38 minutes

Visit the Deep XI bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-03-12 by Nick Harkins
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