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Descend: Wither

Here's the second full-length release from the Stockholm, Sweden progressive death metal band Descend. With this release, the band hopes not only to expand its audience, but also to hit its stride as leaders of this approach to extreme metal. The band's promotional materials describe the album as its "defining record." I agree.

This record has many familiar elements, things others have done elsewhere, but the overall result is a strong and convincing hour of music. I especially liked the band's blend of acoustic guitar passages with the seemingly constant tremolo picking of black metal. The way I see it, Descend is one of those bands that likes the musical possibilities of death metal but wants to reach beyond them to discover what else this genre can do. The result is a strong set of songs that blend atmosphere, progressive songwriting, and death metal. I was especially impressed with the way this band let the music expand, drawing out a note here, an arpeggio there, instead of overwhelming everything with aggressive sound. Yes, there are plenty of moments when Descend brings their death metal chops to the front. In that realm, these guys have nothing to prove. The vocals, guitars, bass, and drums all strike with the power of a battering ram, fierce, fast, and unforgiving.

Be sure to check out the title track on this album. A refreshing departure, it is a slow, mellow, dual guitar piece that conveys the melancholy and pensiveness of a term like "Wither." I don't know what the song is supposed to mean, if anything, but the atmosphere it creates is quite good. The rest of the album is less mellow but is no less engaged in developing an underlying musical atmosphere. This is a solid new release from a band well worth discovering.

Track Listing:
1. Confined by Evil
2. The Rancorous Paradigm
3. In Hours of Despair
4. Severance
5. Wither
6. Diabolic
7. From Grace to Grave
8. Sundown

Added: March 5th 2014
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1741
Language: english

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