Through The Eyes Of The Burdened

1.Ascend to obscurity
2.Among the ruins
3.A sudden sense of clarity
4.The life delusion
5.A piece of knowledge absent
7.Through the eyes of the burdened
8.Mask of demise
9.Descend to oblivion

Nima Farhadian Langroudi: Vocals
Andreas Lindström (Guitars)
Jonathan Persson (Drums)
Justin Biggs (Bass)
Alex Weijkman: Guitars




Released 13/5-2011
Reviewed 30/5-20011


Ascend is the first thing Descend throws at us with their full length debut. Ascend to Obscurity. That might seem a bit contradictory, but coming from a band that begins their death metal album by exploding in to brutality from an acoustic, calm intro song, it might fit the whole concept with this band quite well - as it turns out. In either case, this is the debut album from Swedish-British constellation which makes the best effort it can to be seen and heard and noticed in the gigantic swamp of death metal there is, which probably is bigger than the full 15 000 square kilometres of Everglades in Florida - the origin of death metal.

In Descend we can find the brutality of the traditional Florida death, the melodies from the Gothenburg death and the technique of the Finnish death. A mix of schools that is quite different from each other as it turns out and the result on this album is that it goes from really dark and low pitched grows with heavy hammering at the instruments to completely acoustic parts and then turns in to some kind of virtuosic show-off in the matter of seconds. Sure, this is clever and inventive - even a bit creative - but is it really working? Well... I've played this album through for 13 times now and I still see it as pretty fragmented. You just don't get a natural flow in the music as it change character so many times and so quick. Sometimes they integrate the music well, but overall it doesn't feel natural and the great melodies that comes forth from time to time is all too often interrupted by transitions in to something completely different.

But! There's also a 'but' in the whole mess, which is that all that looks messy isn't always a mess and all that glimmer isn't diamonds. Did you know diamonds isn't the best thing coal can turn in to? Diamonds is just the result of one allotrope process but the most noble is graphite, which is more stabile and more useful. Graphite comes from another way of natural process and even though this has absolutely nothing to do with Descend, since I don't believe they've been thinking about diamonds when doing this album, you'll understand in a minute why I've brought it up. The way I see it, Descend has processed in another way than most other death metal bands. While other bands are grey/black and perhaps more stabile than the diamonds (which in this case would be Descend), Descend are a glimmering gemstone that can become crown jewels and wedding rings with the right polish and sharpening. What I'm trying to say is that Descend might be a diamond ore - just extracted from the mine where it's been found but fully capable to shine and shimmer like Koh-i-noor itself with the right processing.

To descend in to oblivion, we first need to ascend to obscurity and go through ruins, illusions and masked demise. But in the end, we can see that we've gone through an album that's rich on influences, multifaceted and lack direct context. But it's music that's decent enough and it has potential to grow and become even better without unreachable efforts. I like it enough to give my full consent!


Label - Supernova/Cosmos
Three similar bands - Opeth/Katatonia/Suidakra
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm