Descend - The Deviant
Aftermath Music
Melodic Death Metal
6 songs (48:52)
Release year: 2020
Official Bandcamp, Aftermath Music
Reviewed by Goat

Melodic death bands are, as Alex noted last week in his review of Meridian Dawn, very common, which makes those that can achieve something new or individual with the genre stand out easily. And Swedish five-piece Descend might not have a particularly memorable name but they make their promising music work thanks to a hefty dose of Opeth-esque prog in the mix, on past releases to far more obvious an extent making The Deviant their best album yet. Five songs (and a short intro) with lengths from seven to twelve minutes makes this quite a hefty listen and yet it never feels like it's wasting time or padding songs out. And each song manages to be different, too; the songwriting is as on point here as the band's obvious instrumental skills, first track proper Blood Moon charging in before slipping into lush acoustic strumming with clean singing. It doesn't feel at all like a mere clone of Opeth despite having similarities, such as the deep snarl of vocalist Nima Farhadian L. and some of the guitar riffs sounding like they could have come from one of Åkerfeldt and co's classic era albums.

Flowing nicely into the following The Purest One, the band continue to mix things up with some female vocals joining Nima for a goth-tinged duet before heading in a more death metal direction. There's a heavier touch to Lily, the nine-minute first single from the album, starting with a blackened undercurrent and building to a Gojira-esque proggy groove, more of a melancholic atmosphere giving it a weight that the previous songs were missing. Somehow, the longer songs here are better, not least the woozy, dreamlike Wallow's folksy acoustic guitar and clean sung intro that soon turns ferociously metallic, a bit of later saxophone adding flavour as the song verges on turning psychedelic with those backing guitar leads. And the twelve-minute closing title track features some of the best guitar playing on the album from Andreas Lindström and Alex Wijkman, trading leads flawlessly. There's still room for improvement before Descend are talked about in the same terms as Australian heroes Be'lakor - some of the songwriting is still a little predictable in its heavy/light switching, for instance, and a little more boldness in the experimentation couldn't hurt. Yet Descend are already a very good band, and worth a listen for fans of melodic death that does its own thing.

Killing Songs :
All are good, especially Lily and Wallow
Goat quoted 80 / 100
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