Ever since 2014’s Ethereal saw the light of day, I’ve enjoyed watching Deathwhite flex their creative, melodically-charged muscles. Solitary Martyr arrived a year later with a quality delivery, and by the time that 2018’s For a Black Tomorrow came around, it was clear that Deathwhite’s early promise was not squandered at all. Well, it’s now 2020, and the band have returned with 49 minutes of new material.
This new album finds Deathwhite embracing their heavier side a bit more, while still keeping the emotive clean singing and melodic appeal. The band’s melodic doom influences have also taken an increased presence across the album, and any fan of bands such as Amorphis, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Moonspell, Katatonia, Anathema, etc. will find much to lap up here. Deathwhite are their own masters, however, and on Grave Image they demonstrate their considerable ability in no uncertain terms.
The music is emotionally-charged and the songs are easy to enjoy, while still having sufficient depth to encourage repeat visits. Despondent and mournful, this is catchy, well-written music that’s steeped in affecting misery and resplendent with many song-based hooks. The band have a talent for crafting bleak atmosphere that’s prevented from ever becoming maudlin through their use of melody and general application of smart songwriting choices.
The singer sounds more confident and proficient in his art than ever, and his voice effortless sails through the songs. He puts his talents to effective use throughout the album’s running time, capable of displaying characterful power, as well as a lighter, softer touch.
Grave Image is the apotheosis of Deathwhite’s upward trajectory so far; this is an album to listen to over and over again on cold, lonely nights.