“Depths” is the second full-length album from Belfast hardcore-punk-sludge trio Comply Or Die. The self-released album was unveiled on September 8th 2011 at a launch party, held at the Menagerie Bar in their home town of Belfast.
Certainly, opener ‘Official Secrets’ very much draws on the band’s Belfast punk background, while ‘Shanghaied’ is a damn fine slice of pure punk rebellion. However, there is also a very psychedelic feel to overall offering, as evinced by the likes of ‘Vermin’, which opens in wails of distortion and wah-wah then moves into an epic, almost instrumental (there’s only one verse of vocal) epic of steady doomish bass and downtuned guitar.
One of the album’s highlights, ‘I’m Sick (Of This)’ moves back into Belfast’s punk era, evoking the visceral sounds of the likes of the legendary Rudi. ‘Motives’ is driven by a heavy bass and rhythm guitar combination, while ‘Viscera’ has a down ‘n’ dirty swampy feel to it.
It may seem a mistake to many to end an album with an instrumental, especially one as long as ‘DMT’, but it proves to be an excellent work out for the three musicians, especially Ian’s bass work.
The band launched the CD by basically playing it in its entirety in a cramped, sweaty club on the edge of their home city’s student land, with the tracks coming across much heavier than the studio versions, with the three piece again delivering the contrasts in sounds between pure Belfast-inspired punk and 60s-influenced psychedelia. The show brought out the dirtier end of their sound, especially on ‘Vermin’, mixing its long, almost rambling, instrumental interludes with short, sharp shocks to the system.
Unfortunately, it was a largely apathetic crowd – “you’re only here ‘cos it’s a free gig!” – but a few solitary heads started moving when they launched into ‘I’m Sick’ and by the end a healthy proportion of the punters had been won over, especially by the captivating ‘DMT’.
All in all, both the album and the live show are somewhat of an echo back to the “we don’t give a shit” days of 70s rock, when bands could basically go into the studio or on stage and record whatever the f*** they liked, without thinking about the consequences. In this case the consequence is Comply – Or Die!