Metal Kaos - Deeper Graves - Open Roads

“Open Roads” features as guests Bruce Lamont (of the YAKUZA fame), actress / musician Darja Vaarsi (CALIFORNIA WIDOW) and cellist / composer Chris Brown (KAKOPHONIX), offering nearly forty minutes of cinematic music that feels like it’s taken straight from the ‘80s Goth Rock scene.

“Last Transmission” winks at you in a Chris Isaak-“Wicked Game” way – at least till the female vocals enter the room to make the entire atmosphere even more haunting and soul-stirring. Again, the overall orchestration time-travels you back in 1981 and THE CURE’s “Charlotte Sometimes”, and I will grant extra kudos to Wilson for using every instrument to remind you of something familiar.

With tons of wonderful albums reaching METAL KAOZ HQ, I have to admit that, besides the short description accompanying the digital promo (which half of the times tends to be misleading), the cover artwork has become a good indication for me to give a chance to the most obscure / underground releases that, let’s face it, rarely gain listening time. This is a bit unfair, although there is not enough time to properly listen to all the new albums and, of course, I am not talking about song-skipping and 30sec sampling – this is sad. Thankfully, CHROME WAVES and ex-NACHTMYSTIUM guitarist Jeff Wilson’s debut effort “Open Roads”, released under the DEEPER GRAVES moniker, has both virtues (sonically and visually), and therefore I did not need much to be convinced and take this six-track gem for a ride.


First of all, you need to be an open-minded metalhead to spend some time with a Post-Punk / Goth Rock album, but if you choose to do so, you’ll be totally rewarded by Wilson’s Alt and mesmerizing cosmos. By the way, he is handling the songwriting as well as the instrumentation and production. “Open Roads” features as guests Bruce Lamont (of the YAKUZA fame), actress / musician Darja Vaarsi (CALIFORNIA WIDOW) and cellist / composer Chris Brown (KAKOPHONIX), offering nearly forty minutes of cinematic music that feels like it’s taken straight from the ‘80s Goth Rock scene. The music is characterized by slow-paced Rock and a lethal bass sound that will trigger some JOY DIVISION, THE CURE and THE SISTERS OF MERCY memories, among others. Album opener “Final Divide” carries that Goth Rock feeling starting off in a DURAN DURAN-“Come Undone” way being a tad slower (love the sneaky bass here) before evolving into a dreamy Gothic track that’s beautiful, sad and uplifting at the same time. Just note how wonderful the cello sounds in the midst of all this Goth heaviness, while the almost-baritone vocals hit you like summer rain – refreshing and cooling… Follow-up “Leave This World” continues in a more melancholic way thanks to the “Blade Runner”-like cinematic orchestration adorned by the Goth-style, short-room-verbs-on-the-snare drums and the hidden-in-the-background vocals, while “Ode To War” puts you in a dance mood thanks to the THE SISTERS OF MERCY-like structure – again, that bass sound is addictive. While “Open Arms” continues down the same soundtrack-like road, “Last Transmission” winks at you in a Chris Isaak-“Wicked Game” way – at least till the female vocals enter the room to make the entire atmosphere even more haunting and soul-stirring. Again, the overall orchestration time-travels you back in 1981 and THE CURE’s “Charlotte Sometimes”, and I will grant extra kudos to Wilson for using every instrument to remind you of something familiar.


“Open Roads” is not a record for massive consumption, but it’ll certainly heartfully reward any potential listener. From the moody, black-n-white cover artwork with the Jazz-like font and semi-lit street, to every melodic moment, it feels like it’s made to send us back to a different time when music was probably the only vehicle to channel every kind of emotion and embrace it. If you’re in the mood to feel utterly nostalgic for no reason, DEEPER GRAVES is just around the corner. This is impressive, soulful work.


Album review by Maria Voutiriadou on Metal Kaoz

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