Nine Circles ov… Dååth

They’re back! After a 12-plus year hiatus, Dååth have returned to the scene. With a fresh new deal inked with Metal Blade, a revamped lineup, and the recent release of “No Rest No End”, the progressive death metal crew seem poised for a big 2023. And I, for one, couldn’t be more excited for their return. So, with all of that said, this seemed like an appropriate time to revisit their catalog. Considering their previous three albums, The Hinderers, The Concealers, and 2010’s final, self-titled effort are all free over on their Bandcamp page, we’ll focus on those collections. The Hinderers specifically, released back in 2007, had a major impact on the trajectory of my music taste going forward, and it has been a serious treat revisiting some of those classics. So, without further delay, let’s dive right into nine of my favorite Dååth tracks. Some are obvious, some hopefully are a little less so…

“Subterfuge” – The Hinderers (2007)

I’ll start off by saying this: The Hinderers is a tremendous album that still holds up to this day. Sure, I have a personal nostalgic connection to this record, but let’s face it, from start to finish it’s filled with one banger after another, each one offering a bit of a twist on all the tracks that surround it. But right now we’re here to talk about “Subterfuge”, the opening track. And what an opening it is. It’s angry, it’s aggressive, but it’s also incredibly haunting. The guitar tones that are such a defining staple of this album and band are on full display with one delicious lead after another, and those solos are just ridiculous. It is literally impossible to start a Dååth playlist with any other track.

“The Unbinding Truth” – The Concealers (2009)

We’ll move forward a couple of years, bring in Sean Z on vocals, and introduce The Concealers. It’s hard for me to really identify what changed in the Dååth sound between albums, but the 2009 and 2010 efforts almost felt more… mechanical? Not in a bad way, to be clear. Regardless, “The Unbinding Truth” might be my favorite Dååth track, period. The leads keep those same signature guitar tones front and center, and the modestly melodic yet still punishingly dark atmosphere of this track hits me in all the right ways. Oh, and the way the track shifts from chorus, to solo, and eventually to that extended outro? Stunning. I’ve also had the first verse stuck in my head for the past week, so there’s also that.

“Bless Through Misery” – The Hinderers

The second selection from The Hinderers that makes an appearance is the penultimate track. More plodding than many of the tracks on this album, it was the abrupt transition away from those opening blasts that initially caught me. The deliberate nature, and emphasis on letting each note and lyric resonate on “Blessed Through Misery” offers a different form of darkness, ultimately allowing the track to stand out a bit more. Dååth covers a lot of ground on this album, and I really appreciate the contrast in themes that this track represents. The breakdowns in the middle crawl up your spine, and the way it builds from there, leveraging yet another masterful guitar solo, is simply awesome.

“Oxygen Burn” – Dååth (2010)

While the self-titled effort didn’t do a ton for me when it came out in 2010, and I still find it a notch or two below the others in this trio today, there are some moments in the middle stages that I appreciate. “Oxygen Burn”, for instance, is nestled in a stretch of tracks that are among Dååth’s best from any album. This track specifically, while ensuring their technical ability is not forgotten, is driven by an extensive, captivating introduction that really drives up the tension at a point in the album that really benefits from it. And the dense, heavy choruses only begin the process of releasing that tension.

“Accelerant” – Dååth

From there, “Accelerant” gets the next spot on this list, keeping a sequence from Dååth intact simply because of how well these two tracks work off of each other. For all the pressure that builds on “Oxygen Burn”, “Accelerant” feels like an appropriate release of that energy. Right from the beginning, this track is in your face with thick leads and a blistering cadence. And as it eventually works toward the first chorus, the aggression only picks up. Overall, when looking at individual tracks from this album there isn’t a ton that jumps out at me, but when time is spent recognizing how some of the tracks build off of each other there is plenty to appreciate, and this back-to-back is a great example of that.

“Cosmic Forge” – The Hinderers

Alright, it’s time to touch on my favorite track from The Hinderers. What do I like about “Cosmic Forge”? Everything. The rhythms are absolutely insane, the electronic elements are forced into the spotlight, but mesh very well, the cadence rises and falls multiple times without any effort whatsoever, and they still find a way to work in all their technical ability naturally. The structure may seem a bit more straightforward at the outset, but when you hone in on the various layers and sections of this track is becomes infinitely more complex and impressive. And it’s the way they work their more progressive tendencies into a song that teases consistency that I appreciate most.

“… Of Poisoned Sorrows” – The Concealers

The Concealers is a strong album, and truthfully there were a few others I was considering over this track, but I landed on “…Of Poisoned Sorrows” just because of how different it is, and the fact that Dååth opted to get this creative this late in the album. The heavily-electronic early passages speak for themselves, the vocal effects are anything but subtle, but overall the more, I don’t know, doomy industrial leanings are curiously captivating and even sensible. And then, of course, it all turns on its head midway through, turning the whole track into its own dichotomy in a way. Actually, now that I’m talking it out a bit, including “…Of Poisoned Sorrows” in a list like this is a no-brainer. Go figure.

“The Hinderers” – The Hinderers

Of course this post was going to be heavy on The Hinderers, and how I could I leave out the closing track? The continuous build of the almost 2-minute opening phase, nearing half of the track’s runtime, is nothing short of eerie, and once things really get moving Dååth manage to throw a ton into this track with undeniable success and efficiency. It builds, and it builds, and it ends. And in those moments there exists varying degrees of weight, darkness, creativity, and resolution that sum up everything The Hinderers does right.

“The Worthless” – The Concealers

Ok, so if the “Unbinding Truth” isn’t my favorite on this list, “The Worthless” might be, and I still think it’s a shame they didn’t use this as the opening track to The Concealers. The structures here don’t have the same dynamic feel as some of these other samples perhaps, but what “The Worthless” does is present a more straightforward, super dark death metal track, that still explores plenty of ground rhythmically, with a chorus that absolutely lifts off. Addicting, ferocious, and despair-driven. Give. Me. More.

There you have it! After a long period of inactivity, and an equally long period of these albums collecting dust on my shelf, those are nine tracks that stood out to me during a recent revisit of each of them. There’s plenty of good stuff in that collection, and the crazy thing is that I already consider “New Rest No End” among the better tracks they have ever released. So whenever an album announcement does emerge… I’ll be ready.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”

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