Death Touches Us, From the Moment We Begin to Love, the third full-length album from the Scottish post-hardcore group, Departures, is a promising but ultimately stale record due to its tired, unoriginal analysis of death, possibly the most defining aspect of human life.
Departures tackle the issue of death from a few different perspectives, though none are truly unique. Tracks like “Death of Youth” consider death on a universal level, with lyrics such as, “‘Wait until tomorrow’ they say, but what if it never comes?” These tracks indicate the foreboding nature of death, as one can never know when he or she will be taken. Meanwhile, tracks like “Memorial” indicate feelings of remorse after the death of a loved one, featuring lyrics such as, “If I could tell you one last time how much you meant to me, I could say I tried my best.” Tracks such as “Broken,” however, indicate feelings of personal futility that can arise when the human mind tries to comprehend its own nonexistence after death through lyrics like, “I’ve lost track of the years. I’ve lost sight of what I’m doing here . . . I have spent my whole life waiting for nothing, waiting for my heart to burst.”
While these lyrics are not very moving as they are not progressive in any way, their delivery by unclean vocalist James is hard-hitting, stark, and incredibly moving. James consistently utters intense screams that rival that of Jon Mess of Dance Gavin Dance and Secret Band. While the lyrics themselves are not too interesting, their delivery is nonetheless likely to send a chill down your spine. It is ironic that the pain embodied by these lyrics are better expressed through the voice of the vocalist, but the aura this sound creates is pure, unadulterated sorrow that will hold your interest as well as open your mind.
Death Touches Us features a great deal of slow, well-placed melodic guitar with distortion, which encapsulates the mysterious and formidable mystery of death. Meanwhile, the percussion is somewhat stiff and very basic, somewhat embodying a funeral march throughout the entirety of the record. In all, the instrumental accompaniment does an excellent job of setting the scene for the morose theme that this album tackles.
While the lyrics themselves are not too interesting or inventive, Death Touches Us, From the Moment We Begin to Love proves that Departures has amazing ability and distinct promise, even if the record isn’t enough to stir you from the grave.