I am back in the saddle after a long while. Miss me? Of course you did. Anyway, let’s drink from the cup of heresy with Lamentations‘ Passion of Depression and Other Half Brewing‘s DDH Small Cashmere Everything.
The Tunes: Lamentations – Passion of Depression
There are multiple pitfalls as to how progressive death metal can run aground while sailing the roiling seas of overambition, be it through excessive showboating, pointless noodling and meandering, by venturing too far into progressive waters at the expense of the death metal side of the equation or simply by forgetting to deliver actual riffs and raging thrills. Hailing from Singapore and the United States and bolstered by an impressive roster of session musicians as well as guest solo guitarists comprising current and former members of Cynic, Black Crown Initiative and Extol, Lamentations shows on its sophomore album Passion of Depression how progressive death metal should be done. Opener “Prodigal” starts on a high note, radiating elegance and nimbleness that permeate the entire album without falling into a trap of artificial pomposity or overblown theatricality. In fact, any remaining fears concerning Lamentations’ lack of muscle are swept away as soon as “Anew” kicks into high gear, followed by the no-holds-barred thrash assault “Shiver” delivers immediately after a segment of blooming beauty replete with classical guitar, piano and double bass, which itself is testament to Lamentations’ songwriting skills and firm grasp of dynamics and narrative. Granted, lengthier songs “Somber” and especially “Nurture” would have benefited from some trimming. “Nurture” promises cinematic peaks and epic denouement that never fully materialize nor satisfy, but this slight letdown is partially explained and excused by the captivating excellence and emotional impact of the preceding songs. Overall, Passion of Depression is an impressive display of vision and ambition and a prime example of how to execute it in a graceful and captivating manner.
The Booze: Other Half Brewing’s DDH Small Cashmere Everything
If you are not yet familiar with Other Half Brewing and the stellar quality of their IPAs, a cursory glance at Beer Advocate will give you a pretty good idea. I cannot think of any other brewery with a production line firing on all cylinders, releasing new beers at breakneck speed while constantly maintaining a world class quality. As they are based in NYC, I have the privilege of accessing and enjoying their latest brews at prime freshness. While I generally prefer their stronger (8.5%) line of Imperial IPAs, my beer aficionado friend has determined 6.5% to be the optimal ABV for IPAs. Challenge accepted and interest piqued, I got my hands on a fresh batch of DDH Small Cashmere Everything. Cashmere was one of my gateway hops into the advanced realms of beer geekdom and Other Half succeeds in squeezing its silky quintessence of candied lemon and lime into a can. The excellent double dry hopping complements and intensifies the grain bill and results in a beautifully peculiar aroma that reminds me of an especially fragrant herbal tea with a dash of lemon juice. This melds harmoniously with the ABV and provides me with sufficient reason to believe my friend’s finding. Verily, this is another home run batted by Other Half Brewing.
As always, cheers and be good to each other.