Mastiff Deprecipice

Mastiff - Deprecipice


Brutal, desperately aggressive, and deeply emotional doomy Sludge that feels like a fresh slap of cold water in your face. Mastiff is right on track to become trailblazingly genre-defining with their new album.

It might be the band´s writing and recording method that makes this and the previous releases so raw and fresh: Don´t overthink, record the song as soon as possible after it is written. Hull-based Mastiff has been around with snarling music for over a decade, released music since 2014, and this is their fourth full-length 2,5 years after their highly acclaimed Leave Me the Ashes of the Earth. To top that release with even more intense and dynamic music as they do on Deprecipice is quite an effort.

The music has, like Kylesa´s early music had, a sense of uncontrolled sludgy furiousness even if the quintet is in full control of the music that it throws at you. The music is as usual a genre blender based on swampy Sludge leaning on both Post-Hardcore and Doom elements. The energy from the Djent drumming, grooving bass, fast heavy riffs with bursts of high-pitched solos, and snarling growls also give you a sense of anarchistic, revolting punk.

You are immediately dragged into Mastiff´s churning sonics with the opening riffs and screeching bursts from the guitars in the first song ”Bite Radius”. It spirals forward with hammering drums, rumbling bass, and growling snarls from the vocals. It is fast, hard, and unforgiving. The guitars swirl in many directions while the drums are raging and the bass is tying it all together at the bottom. The song loosens up with longer melodic takes as if trying to take a breath from the gutting power of the music. But it tightens again as the rhythm section takes a small break and the dense guitars are giving the song a new direction while shifting from Post-Hardcore to sludgy Doom Metal. Desperate aggressive vocals align with the dense music. The bass at the bottom deepens the rhythm as drums give power to the music’s racing pace.

There is no time to take a breath before the next song ”Everything is Ending” overwhelms you with its breakneck whirl of hammering heavy beats and ryhthmic and also staccato riffs. The energy rises from the vocals while the bass rumbles below. The distorted guitars sometimes have short bursts in parallel with the stomping rhythm. In a part of the song, the music loosens up before it fuses again at full tilt. The whole song is a masterpiece of repetitive staccato rhythms and explores how energetic that can be done.

One bit that makes the musical outbursts of this album so engaging are the short breaks between the songs. In a fraction of a second, you are pulled into and overwhelmed by the next song. The neck-breaking speed continues when the fast and diverse Djent drumming opens the third song, ”Void” with smacks on the bass before the rawness of the guitars comes snarling in, holding back a bit as the rhythm section pushes faster forward. The song is diverse with prolonged parts and guitars always challenging each other, sometimes breaking off the riffs in what seems like uncontrolled spins. It adds to the dynamics of the music.

The album sports two fascinating tracks bordering on the darkest Ambient music heard in a while. The first one “Cut-Throat” has scary intoxicating sound effects accompanying the guest vocalist Ethan Lee McCarthy from Primitive Man. The sounds surrounding his vocals churn with a sense of heavy Industrial Doom as it spills out static electricity at the end. The other one is ”The Shape”, a spooky instrumental nodding to dark Industrial Ambient with static sounds and dissonant effects above it.

Mastiff shows their Punk influences in the short and swirling ”Skin Stripper” where the guitars spew energy with the singer in full screaming mode, fast Djent drums followed by the bass. The hurried song ends abruptly with a long riff and we are immediately dragged into the heavy riffs and rumbling bass of the next song, ”Serrated” which also has a snarling guest vocalist, Harry Nott from the US-band Burner. The vocalists challenge and answer each other intensifying the atmosphere of the song. It seems like the guitars backing the vocalists go full tilt in all directions, fighting to get attention, but still managing to hold some sort of order in the mess as one fuzzy guitar breaks out in a high-pitched solo working the whammy bar. The distorted guitar collects the audience once more in longer takes and the bass raises its back to push the vocals to the end.

Talking of high-pitched guitar solos; there is also one delightfully performed in the song “Worship”: just as the vocals are desperately aggressive, a guitar runs away from the dense riffing in a fast solo, reaching the highest echoes before it is drenched out by the riffs and the harsh vocals. The song continues at full force until it is broken up by elongated takes on the shredding, turning doomy and gritty with the rhythm section at a slower pace trying to hold back the guitars.

The album closes with ”Thorn Trauma” that, after a hit on the drum, races off with riffage, fast drumming, hard vocals, and fast rumbling bass at the deep end. The hoarse screams are layered above near blasting drums immersed in the always dense shredding from the guitars. The song pans out and lays a dense melodic layer beneath the harmonies with one guitar playing a low-pitched solo as the pace gets slower and slower under the repeating words from the vocals. It all forms a melodic theme and is a fading crescendo as the song slowly fades away after the hoarse vocals have been turned into a short choral while the melody slowly dips under the horizon of a bleak sun. The amazing thing is that after the end of this fading melodic crescendo, you lean back with an earworm in your ears that is stuck there for some time.

Sometimes, when bands have existed for some time they get mature and the anger and frustration that shaped their first musical escapades evaporate and the music becomes softer and “kinder”. Not so with Mastiff, they have through this album upped the ante with a tumultuous, complex, and thunderous energetic album. The name of the album describes the musical and lyrical content, not the trajectory that the band is on.