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Descend - Wither
24 January 2014

01. Confined By Evil
02. The Rancorous Paradigm
03. In Hours Of Despair
04. Severance
05. Wither
06. Diabolic
07. From Grace To Grave
08. Sundown

In the Roman year of MMXIV, Sweden's Descend are here to show us that originality is certainly not always the ultimate decider of good music. Oozing with elements typical of modern prog and melodeath, Wither, the group's sophomore effort, while perhaps not that creative an album, certainly packs a punch, with enough of a variation in sound to not feel stale or uninspired.

Descend are more or less a progressive death metal band, but not necessarily in the grandiose sense of contemporaries like Gojira or Obscura. Similar to In Vain last year, the band's "progressive" element is delivered much more rhythmically ("Confined By Evil," "The Rancorous Paradigm") than in full fledged, mind-boggling instrumentation. This delivery comes to form a natural synthesis with the band's more extreme moments, and vocalist Nima L. skates an interesting line between vocals that are both death metal and somewhat black metal-tinged as well, without really sounding too much like either.

This, however, is admittedly the less intriguing side of the album. The real meat of Wither comes more towards the middle and into its end, which (although seething with Opeth worship), does a pretty decent job at getting more melodic and emotionally intense. Unoriginal or not, Descend's guitarists know how to play their fucking instruments, with some quite potent deliveries that could possibly hint at great things for the band in the future (leads in "In Hours Of Despair" and "Sundown," and the beautiful instrumental that is the title track). Although the entirety of Wither may not be overly amazingly, I think it's much better to have an album that progressively moves from "meh" moments to "wow" moments rather than vice versa, and it certainly succeeds in this aspect.

Hearing Wither reminds me a lot of when Warbringer's debut hit the scene back in '08. The formula was nothing new with them, but for some reason it still just "clicked" without sounding too boring, and had the balls to be a serious grower that pulls you in the more you listen to it. It's very much the same case with Descend, and the fact that a Weird Shit-aholic such as myself can enjoy a more conventional album like this should tell you something

Git on it, y'all.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 8


Written on 04.03.2014 by
Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.
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theembryo - 05.03.2014 at 06:08  
Right, then - I have not been disappointed in following up on previous Apothecary reviews, so I'm to have a go at this. Thanks!!
Apothecary - 05.03.2014 at 11:19  
Written by deadone on 05.03.2014 at 06:42

Ha, I just used a similar opening line for a Hatesphere review I submitted yesterday.

Well, you know what they say about great minds
psykometal - 05.03.2014 at 20:38  
Wow. Che digging a more conventional melodeath album. Definitely feel obligated to check this out on that principle alone.

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