Embracing the Descent: April 14 – 20, 2019


Welcome back to another edition of Embracing the Descent and another opportunity to catch some molten nuggets of this week’s incoming metal. If it’s your first visit, we briefly discuss a handful of the current week’s new releases that stood out for whatever reason and maybe, from time to time, a week behind but who’s counting. We won’t be hitting everything because no one wants to read a 40 – 60 entry piece and who’s got that kind of time anyway. Let’s jump in and don’t forget to check out the full listing from Monday’s Initial Descent. Before you go, leave us a comment if you have thoughts or gripes or something we should be listening to.

Twilight Fauna - That Old Time Way

Twilight Fauna have been releasing black metal albums that highlight nature, mankind’s relationship to it, history, locations, and dealing with certain sorrows that life has a tendency to force upon us since 2012. Hymns of a Forgotten Homeland is an early favorite and through the looking glass of each album, before and since, deep connections to the music, lyrics, and performances are a given. Never having seen mastermind Ravenwood perform live, the thought of what the experience would actually be like but has been a mystery but with That Old Time Way, this newest EP of acoustic versions, the only thing missing is the visual. Recorded on his porch, we’re treated to a ‘live’ performance – “wind, wildlife, missed notes” – that is arguably the most personal of his catalog. These two tracks showcase a beautiful side of Twilight Fauna and offer, yet again, another effort that demands complete investment but one you want to invest in. See the lyric sheet for “These Empty Fields” then head out into the woods, alone, with this playing and do your best to feel absolutely nothing. Impossible.

Dead To A Dying World - Elegy

In case you missed the context above, there’s just something about an artist that can reach into your soul, have a look around, and leave you with exactly what you need. And much like Twilight Fauna, Dead To A Dying World have done this, again, on their third full length Elegy. Their vocal approach and unique choices, instrument-wise, have been enough to catch attentions but the soul, power, and undying fervor the band puts into each effort is what sets them apart, see Dead To A Dying World and Litany for proof. The first thing apparent here is the shorter tracks, in comparison, but a few spins reveal a robustness in the amalgamation of atmospheric doom and keener sense of folk combined with a tasteful use of black metal. Focused listening isn’t required to ‘get’ the concept; grieving a dying planet and the unmistakable knowledge that the world would be much better off left to itself. This isn’t a new way of thinking or a theme untread but Dead To A Dying World invite us to this reality (“Syzygy”), force upon us the pain and anguish found there (“Vernal Equinox”), and leave us breathless (“Of Moss and Stone”) in Elegy’s aftermath. All this is to say, Dead To A Dying World is this era’s can’t miss band and Elegy is this year’s can’t miss album.

Dawn of Demise - Into the Depths of Veracity

Let’s lighten the mood with some death metal… Dawn of Demise are nothing if not consistent and they drive that point home, again, on fifth full length Into the Depths of Veracity. There’s a thing to be said, somewhere, about meat and potatoes death metal as well as if it ain’t broke don’t fix it which is exactly where Dawn of Demise are five albums on in their career. Debut Hate Takes Its Form didn’t just highlight the obvious Obituary influence, it did it in such a way that was abrasive and even violent sounding (humor me here) – you know, pretty much what you want in a death metal album. Then three more albums go by and not much changed other than a gradual loss of that grit and blood and guts. If we’re being honest it hasn’t returned on a large scale here but memorable songwriting has taken its place and Depths of Veracity, at least to these ears, is the best release since the aforementioned debut. Take “Collapse” for example, between the swinging groove and percussive blasts lies a track that worms its way into an everyday hum in the shower kind of deal. “Enraged” takes its cues from the early NYDM scene while “In Silence Hell Arise” gives Haunted era Six Feet Under a serious run for its money. But then there’s all the well placed solos afoot throughout, shift-on-a-dime sick and more sick vocals, and did I mention neck-snapping groove already? Sure did, but now the point is made. Look, meat and potatoes death metal will always have its much needed place and Depths of Veracity scratches a much needed itch but in the midst of extraordinary death metal bands doing extraordinary things, repeat mileage on this one may vary.

Some good picks here that have seen plenty of road and woods and mountains. What will get the most attention from YOU this week?

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