Death In June returned with the album "Essence!" late last year. This new album, with original material, comes 8 years after its predecessor "Peaceful Snow" released in 2010. Sole member Douglas P. wrote and performed all the eleven tracks that where created between 2014-2018 and recorded them in the Southern Winter between June-August 2018 at Big Sound Studios in Adelaide, Australia.

The album begins with the minute long "Welcome To Country", a mixture of noises and voices and howls. Then "God A Pale Of Curse" starts and transcends us to Douglas P’s classic acoustic songwriting. A rhythmic, optimistic musical piece that lyrically speaks of religion and his opposition to the power of the church as he sings lines like “We dare to differ so dance from a rope”. On "The Trigger" that follows we start to get into more familiar Death In June territory. A darker tune that once again refers to religion “The crucifix on the wall, protects not much at all, not only did I lose you, I lost myself too”. The next song "Snipers Of The Maidan" is about the violent events involving protesters, riot police, and unknown shooters at the main protest on Maidan square during the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. The song "The Humble Brag" that follows has something reminiscent of the 1985 "Nada!" album. While on "Going Dark", one of the catchy tunes of the album, talks about the dark net, relationships and macabre liberating sense of humor “Like a fly on the wall at my own funeral I am free”.

The track "The Dance Of Life – To Shoot A Valkyrie" has two parts as one can gather from the songs title. On the first part he rumbles on and on “But does the dance of life grow weak?” and then the mood changes and the track starts to get more uplifting, musically only, since Douglas continues to sings pessimistic words “To shoot a Valkyrie, to shoot a swan, this unhappiness goes on and on”. Like all the album, "No Belief" continues in the same vein as the other tracks. All compositions are based on the acoustic guitar. Here we also have some electric guitar thrown in. On "The Pole Star Of Eden" we also get some percussion in the background, on "What Will Become Of Us" some trumpet, bass and organ are added enriching the sound. The last track is "My Florida Dawn", a dark atmospheric piece full of drones, chimes, a haunting piano and Douglas’s voice reviewing long lost loves  I'll always have mixed memories of you, I've seen the great and I've seen the mad in you, but mainly I've hate-filled love for you”.

Douglas P. with this album seems to be searching his inner self, recollecting his paths in life and trying to find the “essence” of things or his own being. A man who has taken the difficult road to follows his own vision and fighting his own demons, reluctant of what others my say of him or about his music. Here on "Essence!" he has truly once again delivered a great piece of art, straight from the heart and soul. It doesn’t get purer than this I imagine.

Review by Nick Drivas