Deafest - Glen and Precipice - (8.5/10)
Published on May 28, 2017
Formed in 2008, Deafest is the brainchild of Chase Ambler. Everything the band released has been instrumental, at least since the second full length album, 2009’s Eroding Peaks. In the ensuing years, Deafest has become the vehicle for Chase’s infatuation with the Rocky Mountains; so much so that he has dubbed Deafest’s style Rocky Mountain Black Metal. It fits, though, because where the Cascadian scene features lush soundscapes and woodsy atmospherics, Deafest offers something that summons the intensely unforgiving, unyielding and awe inspiring vistas of the Rocky Mountains.
Released in early 2016, Glen and Precipice is the project’s fourth full length album, and first long player since 2010’s Earth Turned Skyward. Despite the amount of time since Deafest’s last full length, Ambler has been anything but idle, dropping fourteen releases (EP’s, splits and whatnot) and spearheading a great anti-NSBM compilation titled Crushing Intolerance (with proceeds from the compilation going to charity. Those familiar with the band’s discography shouldn’t find any surprises, but the album does showcase Ambler’s fantastic, layered trem picking and sweeping atmospherics that have been a constant in the band’s history.
Though Glen and Precipice is solely an instrumental endeavor, it’s actually a concept album surrounding water and it’s journey from the peaks of the mountains. One can feel the constant pull and flow, working into a roaring stream full of whitewater and rapids. The music is highly melodic, with constant layered trem riffing leading the charge, weaving their way around mid tempo double kick percussion and charging barrages of double bass. Though everything moves forth in a very atmospheric, almost cathartic delivery, the riffs are varied and the transitions are carefully maneuvered. Melodic leads occasionally float in, offering glimpses at the clear blue sky, before returning the focus to the streams and craggy, rock-strewn trails.
Deafest has been steadily improving over the last decade and Glen and Precipice shows the project at its strongest yet. This is atmospheric black metal that doesn’t need to resort to cheesy synths and interludes to get its point across. Instead, the album offers insight into Ambler’s admiration of the Rocky Mountains and the breathtaking awe those mountains possess. This is a quite remarkable effort from a project that should get way more attention that it does.