When I trawl through OneMetal’s review queue I use a mindset very similar to when I’m picking a pint in a pub. I’ll carefully consider genre, reputation and other relevant factors for about five seconds before picking the one with the coolest name. While this approach has seen me sitting in Wetherspoons grimacing a couple of times, Karybdis have proven that it is not completely without merit.
From The Depths has a very rich sound with plenty of flavours. The recipe requires a base of powerful metalcore, a healthy dollop of death metal and a few sprinkles of symphonic and melodic death influences. The final mixture does suffer a little from relying too heavily on breakdowns for heaviness at times but the whole band have done very well to craft a genuinely original and extremely effective sound. The string trio responsible for the symphonic flourishes are the unsung heroes of From The Depths: they only appear briefly but their contributions are pitch perfect and add a great deal – the mournful strings that appear in the intro of ‘Arson Aesthetics’ create a whole new mood for the song, providing a moment of reflection before the onslaught begins once again.
The two tracks that are named after mythical creatures happen to also be the two that really stand out. ‘Minotaur’ definitely lives up to its namesake – it’s an unstoppable behemoth of a track that opens the album in spectacular fashion. I’m less certain what widdly guitar has to do with snake women, but ‘Medusa’ contains some fantastic leadwork that reaches a breathtaking climax in its final minute. The rest of the album is far from filler too, each song twists and turns thorough many distinct sections in a confident swagger: there’s absolutely no sign of songs being written to a formula. Rich O’Donnell’s voice is absolutely key throughout From The Depths – there’s enough variety in his harsh vocal delivery that it never becomes monotonous. Owing plenty to both death metal and hardcore influences, the one thing he is never short of is rage, which he does a fantastic job of channelling into one of the most aggressive styles that I’ve heard in a long time.
As much as I’d love to make some sarcastic comment about being forced to choose between Scylla and Karybdis, the simple truth is that From The Depths is a really, really good debut. The album’s only real weakness is that the guitars occasionally get bogged down in generic metalcore riffs that don’t stand up to repetition but the album’s strengths more than negate this. Karybdis is a formidable beast, and one worth remembering.