Depressed Mode

Ghosts of Devotion

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No one can accuse Depressed Mode of failing to come up with an interesting name. Their name, as some might suspect, is a clever play on Depeche Mode. But more important than Depressed Mode's name is their music, and their debut album, Ghosts of Devotion, is a fairly promising doom metal effort that incorporates elements of death metal, gothic metal, and black metal. Ghosts of Devotion rocks aggressively, although it is never harsh for the sake of being harsh. Actually, the material is relatively melodic, and this Finnish band clearly values intricacy, nuance, and craftsmanship. Much of the album's death metal appeal comes from lead singer/founder Ossy Salonen, who often favors the stereotypical "Cookie Monster" growl that death metal is known for. But there are clean vocals as well, and Natalie Koskinen's clean female vocals help to increase the disc's goth factor. Musically, this 2006/2007 recording is a long way from the new wave and synth pop that Depeche Mode were known for in the '80s, but Depressed Mode do share Depeche Mode's gloomy outlook. Ghosts of Devotion is a consistently sullen, morose, dour, pessimistic affair; this isn't exactly a CD that employees of a suicide prevention hotline would want to play for callers. No rays of sunlight enter the very dark, foreboding place that is Ghosts of Devotion. But the fact that this 51-minute CD is so grim doesn't make it any less valid artistically; actually, grim and depressing are a badge of honor in doom metal. Over the years, dark subject matter has inspired a wide variety of artists to provide memorable albums -- and Ghosts of Devotion is a solid example of what Finland has to offer in the doom department.

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