Deeper Graves is Jeff Wilson of black metal band Nachtmystium and post black metallers Chrome Waves latest project. Open Roads is the debut album and promises to be a different prospect to what you would expect of Mr Wilson. The origins of the project go back to 2014 and are an attempt to eschew the progressive technicality of metal in favour of something a little more streamlined, organic and dare I say simplistic.
The album cover offers up a clue as to the musical direction, a darkly lit and deserted street that could be any town or city in the world, thereby setting the tone for the music to come. Impressively Wilson handles all writing, instrumentation and production and is aided by guest vocals from the likes of Bruce Lamont (Corrections House/Brain Tentacles) and Darja Vaarsi (California Widow) as well as cello by composer/musician Chris Brown (Kakophonix).
Comprised of a mere six tracks and started with Final Divide, the longest track on the album. A thunderous John Bonham style drumbeat ala When the Levee Breaks kicked things off and was soon accompanied by a moody bassline reminding one of vintage Joy Division. A cello was introduced which helped to enhance the beautiful fragility of the track instead of detracting from it. There was a certain expansive feel. Second track Leave This World featured drums that were very much at the forefront, the vocals buried deep into the mix with cello interwoven into the song throughout. Although there were vocals present it felt more like an instrumental, partly due to their indecipherability.
Ode To War felt like an early Sisters of Mercy track, the vocals resembling that of Andrew Eldritch. There was a Sisters of Mercy sense of drama present and even as someone who is not a fan of that band, I have to admit that I enjoyed the epic, even over the top feel that Wilson managed to conjure up. Open Arms reminded me of the post-metal/shoegazing atmospherics of Justin Broadrick’s Jesu project. It had a definite ambient aura that made you feel warm and fuzzy inside. A beautiful piece.
Open Arms reminded me of the post-metal/shoegazing atmospherics of Justin Broadrick’s Jesu project. It had a definite ambient aura that made you feel warm and fuzzy inside. A beautiful piece…
Last Transmission started off similarly to opener Final Divide with some once again bombastic drumming and moody bass before the distinctive vocals of Darja came in. I’ll be honest, the vocals won’t be to everyone’s taste, reminding me of a far less abrasive Diamanda Galas. Considering how much of a fanboy I am of Diamanda’s mostly terrifying vocal styling’s, I must admit to surprisingly not being particularly taken with Darja‘s, perhaps as they felt jarring and out of place.
This led us to the final number on the album, In Memorium which evoked the spirit of classic goth rock bands such as The Cure and Bauhaus. It also had a downbeat doom feel that brought to mind London quartet The River, who I have been enjoying immensely in recent months. As with that band, they sounded like they have also been inspired by slowcore outfit Low.
If you’re a fan of Jeff Wilson‘s other projects and are open minded, then it’s entirely possible you will also enjoy Deeper Graves. For my part, as something of a newcomer I thought this was a superbly produced record with some truly majestic moments which has inspired me enough to check out his day job outfits, demonstrating that Jeff has impressed me enough to warrant these investigations.
Scribed by: Reza Mills