I learn about new music in a lot of different ways and one is word of mouth. When a fellow reviewer who I respect recommends an album then I will definitely seek it out. Jason Spencer of well renowned review website The Prog Mind had been waxing lyrical about ‘One Man’s Grief’, the debut album from Hungarian duo Deposed King, for quite a while so I decided it must be worth a listen and, as usual, Jason wasn’t wrong…
Hailing from Budapest, Daniel Kriffel and Dominique Király cite the usual suspects when it comes to their influences with Steven Wilson, Mariusz Duda and Ólafur Arnalds included in the list. You can hear faint hints of these musicians in Deposed King’s sound but it is definitely a sound they have forged themselves. Their polished, low key music reminds me of a lot of the progressive rock and post-rock acts that have come out of eastern Europe recently and especially Poland (Amarok definitely come to mind!).
With intelligent and thought provoking music and a calming aura deep at its core, the album is nine tracks long and brief opener First Light sets the scene of things to come, thoughtful and wistful in tone and delivery, this delicate instrumental focuses your mind immediately. There’s a segue into the chiming guitars of Caves, a piece of music that, while thoughtful in nature, has a more urgent and intense feel than the previous track. Another instrumental and one that shows the prowess of these excellent musicians. The ambient soundscape of Endless Hours also sees the first introduction of vocals to the album and what gorgeous vocals they are, haunting and emotive in equal measure. With elegant guitars and lush electronics, this song is as polished as they come. There’s a definite feel of Mariusz Duda’s recent work on his Lunatic Soul project to the intelligent Path of Forlorn, the staccato drumming and almost eastern sounding guitar note adding a stylish sheen to this captivating track, a definite highlight of what is proving to be an utterly compelling collection of songs.
Half-Light takes electronic beats and shimmering soundscapes and blends them seamlessly with a progressive undercurrent to deliver a wide-screen masterpiece. Deep and meaningful , Fading Shadows is a proper nod to the epic progressive rock/metal of bands like Riverside but with a soft centre. The melancholic vocal and contemplative music have a trance like effect and are really addictive and the searing guitar solo is just magical. Sirens of the Sun is a charming piece of electronica that gets under your skin and you can’t help but like and then we arrive at Ceasing to Exist, the album’s epic centrepiece. The longest, and heaviest, track on the album, it’s a perfect mixture of textures and emotions and darkness and light and has a truly primeval weight to it. The use of harsh vocals works perfectly (not something I say very often) and the contrasts between the occasional moments of light and the often monumental riffs is flawless. The cinematic innocence of Last Light with its ethereal piano is a perfect and hypnotic close to the album, just let it wash over you, cleansing your mind and enriching your soul.
When music touches you on a personal level, it must be something quite special and ‘One Man’s Grief’ does exactly that and more. Deposed King write songs and music that has meaning and purpose and it is music that will stay with me for a very long time.
Released 12th January, 2023.
Order the album from bandcamp: