ALBUM REVIEW: Descent’s “Towers of Grandiosity”

ARTIST: Descent + ALBUM: Towers of Grandiosity + LABEL: Redefining Darkness Records + RELEASE DATE: AUG 31, 2018

If you dig into the Australian rock and metal scene, you’ll quickly discover that there’s more to it than AC/DC churning out classic hits dating back to the 1970’s. The underground metal scene is indeed, alive and well in the land down under. With bands like Destroyer 666 and The Berzerker blazing the path for the thrash scene and Parkway Drive and I Killed the Prom Queen laying the foundation for the island’s brand of hardcore, there’s plenty of musical variety if you know where to look.

Formed in 2014, Descent has spent the past few years focused on creating music that they hope will help make them a staple in the Australian metal scene for years to come. Releasing a demo in 2015 and playing numerous gigs supporting national acts, the band has continued developing their sound in an attempt to create a unique identity for themselves. After a few years of fine tuning their songs, the band is set to release their debut album Towers of Grandiosity on August 31, 2018 via Redefining Darkness Records.

It was obvious, even after the first spin of this record, that Descent doesn’t plan to leave anything to the imagination for the listener. Composed of nine tracks, all of which are under 4 minutes long, the album unleashes a clinic on traditional death, thrash, and grind. Unapologetic with their mid-tone riffs, guitarists Brendan Auld and Josh Kane lay the foundation for the album by seamlessly blending traditional death metal with head-splitting grind. Drummer Kingsly Sugden and bassist Jim Dandy supply the rhythm section and instantly grab your attention with the intro to the opening track “Stain.” A well-balanced death metal intro, that for me was reminiscent to classic Entombed. The headbanging is short lived after the song quickly transitions into a melting pot of almost unrecognizable grind and sets the tone for the remainder of the album. The album plows forward with the tracks “Skinwalker,” “Confined,” and “Fountains of Sand,” which all cater to a more grind and D-Beat fanbase. Vocalist Anthony Oliver delivers steady mid-range vocals that waver ever so slightly to match the overall tone of the album. Fast paced guitar riffs and absurdly busy drumming create a wall of sound that carries over from song to song.

The album continues its onslaught of rapid-fire tracks, without providing the listener with a breather at any point. Listening to these tracks, I am tired just from listening and can only imagine how exhausting it was to record. I’m typically not a huge grind fan, but I’d love to see that energy in a live setting. The album concludes with the tracks “Sic Inferius” and “Hindsight.” These songs bring a quick, but necessary breath of fresh air with more of a melodic mid-tempo death sound. I wish these tracks would have been scattered throughout the album to break up the steady grind assault. Undoubtedly masters of their craft, Descent is proving that they are ready to place their name next to the heavy hitters of the death and grind scene. Towers of Grandiosity showcases the quintets’ undeniable musical talent. This is an album that is sure to capture the hearts of death and grind fans worldwide.

Corey Smith

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