Album Review: Deully – This Long Road

Deully traverses mental health issues and addiction on his defiant hard rock new album This Long Road

Deully traverses mental health issues and addiction on his defiant hard rock new album This Long Road

On his powerful new album, hard-hitting Canadian alternative rock artist Darren Sawrenko, better known as Deully, reflects on his struggles with his mental health and recovery from addiction, making for a sound that feels as compelling and thoughtful as it is emphatic and packed full of killer riffs and infectious energy.

The album opens with ‘One Step Behind’, a track that immediately lets listeners know what they’re in store for on the album in the form of soaring, anthemic choruses, punchy rhythms, and a squealing guitar solo that gives the track a timeless heavy metal edge that would hold up in any era of the genre.

Each track has its own take on the artist’s journey and his ongoing battle with his mental health, and follow up ‘Save My Life’ delves into the more emotional and vulnerable side of his predicaments he’s been in, essentially serving as a candid cry for help that will feel relatable for a lot of listeners who have found themselves in similar situations. A lot of hard rock and metal over the years have revolved around things like macho posturing and hiding behind brash personas and characters, and seeing the artist break down these walls and be so honest and laid-bare on the track and the album as a whole makes for a refreshing change of pace.

Tracks like ‘Untitled’ and title track ‘This Long Road’ continue to see the artist push down this emotional path, with the former taking on a more stripped-back and narrative-led style, eschewing the artist’s heavier and more abrasive tendencies as he reflects on issues such as self-love and losing his sense of self. The latter sees the artist’s sound burst back to life in swaggering, riffy fashion while never losing that sense of emotion and catharsis that drips from every word.

‘When Will It Shine’ has a stomping riff that kicks off the track in emphatic fashion, with a sinister tone that feels fit to be the walkout music for a menacing fighter or something with a similar level of intensity. An impressive thing about the album is the way that the artist traverses around the hard rock and metal genres while holding onto his signature appeal, taking queues from everything from 80s thrash, to vintage hard rock, to grungier and more sludgy sounds as the artist paints his complex and compelling story.

More chugging riffs and memorable rhythms come to the fore on ‘This Could Be a Good Life’ and ‘Not Living to Give Up’, as the album takes more of an uplifting and optimistic stance thematically, showcasing some of the artist’s grit and defiance in a way that feels anthemic at times, refusing to be held captive by his demons and fighting back in powerful fashion.

As the album reaches its conclusion, the artist continues to showcase the range of tones and feelings that he can evoke through his sound. Ranging from the rousing emotion of ‘Tonight I Say Goodbye’, to the raucous, party atmosphere of ‘Boys Night Out’, to the more traditional metal sound of album highlight ‘Running on Empty’. These tracks continue to paint the picture of a multi-faceted artist and someone who has a dynamism and sense of drive to his sound that feels unrelenting throughout.

This Long Road is an album that feels like more than a tale about mental health and addiction, but rather one that paints a broader picture of the person facing the issues and the ups and down and highs and lows that their life consists of. The tracks here paint a three dimensional, flawed protagonist who is just doing what they can to persevere and make the most of what they have, and that is a relatable and engrossing narrative that anybody can get behind.