Deeper Graves – Open Roads


You don’t know what day it is. What year. The days, weeks, months blended in a fog of existential melancholy. More pain than any of us can imagine, more sadness than we can bear. Six hundred thousand lives. The silent agony of the rest of us.

It’s difficult to find the motivation to shamble downstairs each day, dress around midday, take another Teams call, be “engaged”. We give ourselves pep talks, think positive thoughts, do the best we can, but always while wading through treacle; phasing out of time while it rushes and crawls. 

Time is relative, and we can’t relate.

‘Open Roads’ is the sound of long ago. The production dated twenty years ago, the sounds from further back still. It echoes that Mikrokosmos album from the early 90s, thought lost in a flood, recovered and released decades later to welcome relief. Swervedriver. Slowdive. Perhaps Swans.

Yet, Deeper Graves is from Jeff Wilson (Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium) – the metal man’s first solo effort. Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House, Brain Tentacles), Darja Vaarsi (California Widow), and cellist Chris Brown (Kakophonix) flit in and out while Wilson handles the rest. 

Vaarsi’s vocals on ‘Last Transmission’ sound distant, a lament from the next room. In the foreground with us, the rolling waves of percussion, sludgy bass, the mournful drone of guitars. It sounds like the other songs, but refreshingly novel, like rain after a heatwave. The playful, hypnotic layers of piano and guitar sprinkle over the sheer weight of repetitive drone.

Open Roads is pitched to fans of the Sisters of Mercy. It’s certainly gothic on ‘Ode to War’, but not in a crass, glow-stick waving way. More Joy Division than ‘Happy Happy Joy Joy’, and very, very competent. 

For something from your teen-self’s turntable, ‘Open Roads’ is weirdly on point.

JW


Verdict


Release Date:  03/07/2020

Record Label: Disorder Recordings

Standout tracks: Final Divide, Ode to War, Last Transmission

Suggested Further Listening: Mikrokosmos – Terra Familiar (2014), Slowdive – Souvlaki (1993), The Sisters of Mercy – Floodland (1987)