All good things come to an end. This album is the final studio album from Stockholm death metallers Desultory. They’ve split up and reformed over the years since 1989, but this, their fifth full-length album, will be their last.
And, let’s be fair: if you’re going to announce in advance that this will be your last album, you want to give it your all. Desultory have certainly done that. The production is superb. The tracks are memorable in a way that (sadly) does not always happen for death metal, where there can often be an issue of “it all sounds the same”. Not so, here, there are the requisite growled vocals, but there is the occasional nod to a more melodic Gothenburg style sound (don’t panic: it’s only a nod – the album is as heavy as hell) which actually serves to emphasise the brutality rather than compromising it.
I rather like the cover art too – it has a kind of brooding menace to it, helped by being completely devoid of colour. It lets you know that you aren’t in for a happy, bouncy ride. In fact, the track titles tell a somewhat post-Apocalyptic tale: beginning with “Silent Rapture”, heading “Through Aching Aeons” and terminating with “Breathing the Ashes” and “Our Departure”. I particularly liked “Slither”, one of the shorter tracks, because it very cleverly kept twisting and turning its musical direction in a snake-like way. It also has a suitably satisfying air of menace, which leads to complete contrast with the opening bars of the next track “Divine Blindness”, beginning with some quiet keyboard work before plunging into the growling darkness again.
The musicianship of the band is nowhere more clear than on the last track “Our Departure” (so titled because it is their final studio track?), where they make great use of changes of tempo, bringing the drums in and out, focusing on the guitar but all the while continuing with the distorted vocals. I’ve been listening to some of their previous work today, to try to see where this fits in the whole Desultory picture, and I have to say that this is far and away their most impressive release to date. (I know that there have been changes in line-up over time, but this is released under the same name, so it deserves to be treated the same). It works well as a whole, there are no weak tracks and it leaves you wanting more. Way to go, guys!