For the longest time I didn’t know exactly what Post-Hardcore meant. Then I discovered bands that created music with heavy vocals and powerful instrumentation; it was some odd mix of spoken word poetry with music that I didn’t know existed, and it captivated me. This same sort of magic is strong in the new Departures album Death Touches Us, From The Moment We Begin To Love. What is to be expected is not really a ride, but an experience, for this work takes its time in its message, and makes it sink into the listener’s core.
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The majority of the experience comes from the overall atmosphere of the album. There is a great balance of screaming, spoken word hardcore vocals, while still maintain melody in each song. From beginning to end this album encompasses all things lonely, depressive, regretful, desperate, you name it: sad. Lyrically this album is poetic with each song sounding like its own story. The character is either living in the moment of their despair or reflecting upon their past. The listener is there in the moment as well, and as the song (and album as a whole) goes on, they may find themselves entranced closer and closer to the gloom. The instrumentals play just as strong of a role here; the guitar is especially hypnotic in its somber tones, working side by side with the screaming and wailing vocals. Beyond the guitar, the drums are the most noticeable in how each hit at the right moment reels you in closer to a certain word or emotion. The instrumentals do an incredible job switching up midway in each song, surprising the listener in sound and feeling. There is a sense of duality that may come into play with these songs for some listeners. These stories are grounded in reality, and to some probably relatable. It is easy to get lost in these songs and come out of them with your own self reflection. Death Touches Us, From The Moment We Begin To Love is one of those albums with that great power to shift mood and the headspace of the listener.
Where the album takes a hit is in its, at times, monotonous nature. Each song has just enough variations to them instrumentally to stand out there and then, but combined with the same vocal pattern over and over, it’s possible to have a song end and another start, wondering if you are still listening to the same song. It is with this in mind that the beginning of the album, as well as its mid-game are strong, but towards the end it slips a little. It is fair to say this feeling may depend on the listener: for some they will be able to find the unique storytelling enough in each song, and to others it may just become a bit much.
Departures has crafted a powerful piece of art. It hits like a break up, it makes you wander about your mind like an impressionist painting of a misty harbor. It is discovery and reflection, desperation and wanting. None of these songs are light, and the pain in each track hits with personal telling, which is admirable; the album asks its listener to sit with all these dark emotions, and in moments where they may feel lost and in pain, it also gives them a chance to remember they are not alone.