Yes, instrumental metal bands are real. They tour, they make records and they have fun jamming with their fans. Challenger Deep happens to be one of them. They do not use lyrics to tell a story or keep the listener hooked. Rather, they take turns shredding on their respective instruments, while advancing some narrative.
Some songs are crazy, riff filled blasts of action and others are slower affairs. But, no matter how you gauge it, Challenger Deep is inherently a different kind of band, just because their focus is purely on the instruments. While this may sound boring, it’s not. They succeed at creating interesting songs that tell stories and communicate emotions, just like a band with a singer would. Each song is laced with its own unique “fingerprints” that are “immersive” (haha!).
That being said, one of the dangers of instrumental music in general is that songs can blend together. Yes, a band can space the songs out, but that doesn’t solve this issue. The listener actually has to participate and listen to the music to eliminate this issue. This is challenging for some people because they stream music while doing other stuff, whether they’re doing homework, driving or working out. I’m guilty of this.
All of this is unfortunate, because instrumental songs offer a band different avenues of music writing. Plus, for the listener, instrumental music is a vastly different experience. Since it requires you to pay attention to the music, you develop a closer relationship with it and therefore, become more connected with the stories and emotions the band are trying to communicate.
I listened to this record a couple of times, and it got better each time, and I think when I revisit in the future, it will continue to get better. I attribute this to the instrumental nature of the band. Basically, there’s a lot going on in each song: guitars are riffing, the bass is doing its thing and the drummer is kicking along. It’s a lot to take in, so with each listen, I was able to understand more of what’s going. This enhanced the beauty of the music drastically.
Songs Worth Investigating
“Welcome to the Show” is a good progressive metal track, that features some groovy bass work. “Immersive” is another good track that has prominent riffs and hooks that are catchy. Pieces of this song are oddly reminiscent of some songs from my favorite indie pop-punk bands, the Smoke Detectors. And, “Camelia” is worth mentioning because it features a crazy riff, that reappears several times through out the song.
…And to Conclude
Challenger Deep will be a tough listen for some, just because there are no lyrics to help guide the listener along. The songs seem to lose structure, but they don’t. Everything is there, its just stripped down and the focus is on the instruments and their voices, rather than the singer’s.
Stream Challenger Deep here, on Spotify