Embracing the Descent: May 12 – 18, 2019


Another edition of Embracing the Descent is upon us with another opportunity to catch some fire from this week’s incoming metal. At this point we’re pretty sure you got it but for a recap: 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. We won’t be hitting everything because a 40 – 60 entry piece just ain’t happening. Now…ready? Jump in and don’t forget to check out the full listing from Monday’s Initial Descent.

Paladin - Ascension

Stick with me here: we’re at a power metal bar and the bartender asks “what’ll it be?” Are we going with the operatic sort, theatrical sort, technical sort, or the thrashy with a double shot of heavy metal sort? Why choose just one when Atlanta’s Paladin can give you all of the above in an airtight and solid package on debut Ascension. The opening salvo of “Awakening” and “Divine Providence” sets an electrifying tone and capitalizes on their outstanding two track Demo 2017 in the sense of delivery and sound. And, while these two showcase many of the band’s capabilities “Call of the Night” is where their classic sounding heavy metal blood oozes and “Vagrant” features some of the best guitar melodies I’ve heard in awhile, from any band. Fast, vicious, energetic and extremely memorable – you can’t ask for any more from an album and particularly from a debut.

Depraved Murder - Manifestation

There’s something wicked in the gurgled vocals and brutal blasts of Manifestation, the sophomore effort from Indonesia’s Depraved Murder, that reminds me of early era Unique Leader, and I say that lovingly. In reality, there’s nothing new here; brutal death with brutal vocals and brutal lyrics. However, the delivery on this album is its key to success; complex rhythms open “Excruciate Impulsion” then fade into an Obituaryesque swamp stomp, “Gore Green Meditations” sways mightily between riff-to-pinch harmonics and a melodic mid section while “Persevere Genophage” loops in a few star gazing solos that keeps things from going stale. Which leads us to the reimagining of “Disgenosome” (from debut Remnants of Depravity) and its rallying cry for how badly the band has fought to not be yet another rehash of the same ol’ same ol’ in the brootal scene. They’re reinvigorated and have bounced back from a lukewarm debut, so there’s that for all you death-heads.

Duel - Valley of Shadows

Duel has thus far been a band that I’ve really wanted to love. All the markings are there; rip roaring doom-rock, occult flavor, and freaking riffs aplenty. BUT, debut Fears of the Dead was disjointed and follow up Witchbanger worshipped way too hard, and long, at the altar of 70’s proto metal to the point that their identity, well, didn’t exist. As they say, third time’s a charm and on Valley of Shadows they FINALLY are that band I wanted to love all along. They haven’t shed the 70’s proto metal feel but instead use it as a common thread to weave together some interesting and deeply rooted songs. In addition, they lean heavily on Rock-a-Rolla and Sad Wings era Priest while letting loose with crazy guitar work and their best vocal performance to date. The biggest difference though is how damn hard they rock; “The Bleeding Heart” is a barroom brawler, “Drifting Alone” is for those long road trips when something to get lost in is sorely needed, and “Black Magic Summer” capitalizes on the band’s ever growing occult darkside – music to my freaking ears and quite the surprise at how much better they use it now. I’ll mention “Strike and Disappear” as the biggest shocker on the album, dark Americana gets the ball rolling only to collide with its raunchy, rambunctious back half. This easily could’ve been a main theme song in any good Tarantino movie (but I’m thinking the bar scene in Dusk till Dawn when shit gets real). It’s a dirty, nasty, evil, and witchy album chock full of gigantic rockin’ anthems that stick to the inside of your brain like long loved memories. I’ve been waiting for this band to come around and cheers to them for doing it.

Starless Domain - EOS

Starless Domain refer to their music as “deep field black metal,” and for good reason; their music feels less like an album and more like an intercepted transmission from somewhere so far away from our planet that our brains are almost incapable of processing the distance.  Over the course of a single hour long track, EOS moves between shimmering dark ambient passages and ice-cold atmospheric black metal to create a haunting and hypnotic experience that rips the listeners senses away from them and casts them into the bleak vastness of the cosmos.  If Wolves in the Throne Room’s Celestial Lineage and the dark ambient inspired Celestite are intended to be companion pieces, then EOS is what you get when you mash these two pieces together.

Could’ve easily went five or six deeper but these are great, each in their own way, and we’re short on time so there you have it. Check these out and revisit the full listing of new releases, link is back up top. Don’t be lazy.

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