As a songwriter (term used loosely…very, very loosely), that Colorado’s NECROPANTHER has managed to craft three albums that each stay within the framework of metal, but to embrace the melody inherent in the genre, and add shades to the colors of an established palette is impressive. It’s harder than you think, I assure you.

Between albums, the quartet has this quirky habit of releasing EPs/Singles written entirely by a single member, with the remainder of the band contributing to the recording. Worry not, this is no KISS solo album papier-mâché pastiche of creativity, and this time around the honor/work fell to vocalist/guitarist Paul Anop. In Depths We Sleep had me interested from the cover art alone, as enamored by the oceans, the shorelines I’ve visited, the Great Lakes…but if the music therein doesn’t deliver, all the artwork and intention in the world can’t save an album.

‘The Descent’ begins, gulls and seabirds in the air overhead, salt on the tongue from simply inhaling, the feeling of expansive space, the “world beneath the world” that is deep water. Moments of ACROSS TUNDRAS, NEIL YOUNG’s work with CRAZY HORSE in the early ‘90s, fellow Coloradoans WAYFARER swirl, until ‘Benthic Storms’ churns, drenched in squall. For those fans of NECROPANTHER’s albums, this is where you’ll board ship to choppy guitar/bass and the unable-to-be-ignored skill at work behind the kit of drummer Haakon Sjogren. Instrumental ‘Abyssal Plains’ calls to memory MOUNTAIN in moments, tonally pristine, yet owing as much to QUICKSAND in its execution, while the finale ‘Cheers To Seth Davey’ finds Anop going a bit Philbrick/Melville, crafting a tale of life on and given to the seas.

All told, the music stands solid behind the imagery, the tales of deep water will be told, and told again, and NECROPANTHER has raised its flag a bit higher up the mast.
Review By: Lord Randall

In Depths We Sleep [EP]
4 / 6