My immediate impression of “Deadrise”, the first of four tracks on this EP, is that there is a yearning being expressed. When I consider the lyric, “I’ve thrown myself into the deep…” I recall the figure on the album cover suspended beneath the waves. While the storm rages above, he seems oddly at peace. This kind of rock music will get you thinking.
I like how the vocalist’s melodic voice contrasts with the rest of the instruments, and how Dens evoke both the storm and the calm in one song. How often are we indignant of God when he shows compassion to sinners? How quickly are we to call unfair when the godless continue to thrive?
It sounds like a big space opens up on (W)retched. The progression from slow arpeggio to guitars that trill and positively soar towards the end of the song is very well executed, and speaks to a band who know how to sonically translate emotions. I get the same from the Scottish band, Mogwai.
When I reflect on this poignant lyric: “Whatever my lot, You have taught me to say / “Even so, it is well with my soul”” I think of the many teachings about life in abundance. How, through Christ, we may live a full life. How, when we cast our burdens unto Him, we receive a peace that is not of this world. We are known to the Father, and because we accept that Jesus Christ died for our sins, our names are recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
“Sackcloth & Ash” starts like a raging fire, and jolts me from my thoughts. When the lyric “The proud will be silenced / In forty days time” is sung, the polyrhythm played on the toms jumps out at me. I also hear the bass guitar issue a call that echoes in time from Nineveh to now. It is time to heed the admonition, “Repent and relent”.
“Vice & Virtue” is critical of self-righteousness. As Christians we are called to be God’s hands – and God’s face – in this world. In our actions, do we proclaim the Good News? We have reason to rejoice in the Lord, always! And as it is promised, “And the peace of God, which transcends
all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:4;9).
Listening to Dens has provoked much thought, and I have leaned heavily on the thematic for this review. If “No Small Tempest” is your first taste of Dens’ music, I highly recommend their self-released first album, “From Small Seeds Come Giant Trees” (2016). As a final thought, I’d
like to quote Chad Bird who says “. . . a full life is found by emptying ourselves in love, and being filled with love by the Savior who is found in the most unexpected of places.”
“No Small Tempest” scores 9/10.
Written by Karakul
3. Sackcloth & Ash
4. Vice & Virtue
Shaun Hypes (vocals, guitar)
Brandon Osborne (drums)
Josh Tomlinson (bass)
Josh Waltman (guitar)
Record Label: Facedown Records |
Release Date: June 29th. 2018
“From Small Seeds Come Giant Trees” (full length, 2016)
“No Small Tempest” (EP, 2018)
Video for ‘Vice & Virtue’
Video (audio) for ‘Sackcloth & Ash’
Video for ‘Deadrise’