Descend Into Despair - Synaptic Veil review

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Band: Descend Into Despair
Album: Synaptic Veil
Release date: June 2017

01. Damnatio Memoriae
02. Alone With My Thoughts
03. Demise
04. Silence In Sable Acrotism
05. Tomorrow

Funeral doom really seems to have two main denominations, the dark, evil, and abysmal kind, and a "lighter," more melodic brand that focuses on conjuring the melancholic vibes from a different angle. In recent years there's been more of an emergence of the latter type, from the likes of Bell Witch, Below The Sun, Chrch, and others. Others such as the Romanian Descend Into Despair.

In case you're unfamiliar with them, Descend Into Despair were last seen (well, heard, really) dropping their quality debut The Bearer Of All Storms back in 2014. Much like their debut, Synaptic Veil is a slow, poignant journey through sorrowful atmospheres that are somehow also very bright and uplifting. I said in my review of The Bearer Of All Storms that Descend Into Despair's take on funeral doom is more like an old man telling his life story to his loved ones before he dies, as opposed to an embrace of darkness and crushing nihilism, and that still applies here. A lot of the time the music seems to be more formless and atmospheric than smothering and possessing more traditional songwriting structures. "Demise" could be the best example, as Descend Into Despair spend the majority of the track wandering more through somber melodies than employing any sort of "heaviness."

The most pleasing aspect of Descend Into Despair has to be their sense of song pacing. They're not really in a rush to get anywhere, which is a good thing for this branch of doom metal that a lot of the time seems to be shrouded in an aesthetic of mystery and self reflection. Synaptic Veil is not a bleak, soul sucking album, and thus when heavier, more crushing moments on it do appear, they come more as an embellishment upon the band's more mellowed out atmospheric explorations than anything else. It's almost as though at times the music becomes painful, but not too painful, not to the point of losing its warm, almost welcoming edge. It's an interesting take on funeral doom because whereas a lot of bands out there use melody and atmospheric moments to build on top of a crushing approach, here Descend Into Despair seem to be doing the opposite.

What Synaptic Veil may be lacking in terms of musical heaviness it makes up for greatly with emotional heaviness. This is a very engaging album that is surprisingly accessible for the funeral doom style, not to the point of sounding forced or gimmicky, but rather as a interesting spin on the more typical formula. I've lately come to enjoy this take on the style a lot and its focus on conjuring feelings of sadness, doubt, and pain through lighter, less ominous atmospheres, and Descend Into Despair are a very enjoyable addition to the club.

Pierce the veil.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Written on 14.07.2017 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.

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