Now have a listen to some of the samples, just a mouse-click away, that accompany these words. The band that produced them are Descending. They hail from Athens in Greece and, as a truly modern metal band would, they genre-hop with the best of them. One album in the bag and after “a long period of intensive work”, with producer extraordinaire Fredrik Nordstrom (In Flames, Dimmu Borgir, Arch Enemy), they are now quite adept at fusing thrash, math and groove metal together to create the shape of a fist which they then use to batter you with. They also dabble in a spot of metalcore but more of that later. Their already impressive list of support slots (Testament, Gojira, Shadows Fall, The Haunted, Lamb Of God, etc.) proves just how hard their sound is to pin down.
From the get-go, the offbeat thudding of drummer Nick Vell’s feet serves to elevate the two-chord writhing action that lurks within “No Other Gods Before Me”. Throw in the swarming, layered death vocal of John Simvonis and his vocal compatriot, the bassist Noir, and you’ve got yourself a whole world of pain. Yet they can go heavier as “I Keep Returning” proves. It regurgitates an embittered, grimy veneer which empowers the choruses and brings an oppressive dark quality to the verses. Still heavier they go as this kind of damaging battery is scaled up tenfold in the mammoth crush that “The Energy” engages in. Reminiscent of Chimaira at their most violent, it provides the perfect foil to the colossal Gojira-esque powerchug stomp that rips a path through “Shared Planet”.
With so much punishment being served, the band’s purposeful move towards replacing some of this giant groove with pumped vocal hooks, lingering riffs and ‘core breaks was always going to be the album’s downfall. Tracks like “Suicide Promise”, “Until I Generate” and “How Much This Life Weights?” although catchy in the chorus, feel loose, pudgy and overwrought as the music increasingly lurches towards a kind of vaguely generic-sounding metalcore. “The Ghost Of Nation Past” pops in a disembodied old recording, a bar of clean vocal and loads up with screeching beatdowns, possibly in an effort to liven up proceedings, but from here it’s just a sinking ship.
Clearly, what we have here is an album with a multiple personality disorder – a vision divided down the middle. When they get heavy, they are an unstoppable force, slowly increasing the pressure in furiously inventive ways. When they slack off and get cute, they fall back into that familiar mold which has shaped so many bands before them. Descending’s talent is undeniable, their promise is palpable; they just need to fully realise it. My new favourite band, Deviralosis, is but a stone’s throw away.
Also online (with samples) @ The NewReview = http://thenewreview.net/reviews/descending-new-death-celebrity