So, I begin round two with a little something handed down to me by Darksider, vocalist from THE MOIDALIZERS. It was of a band that they performed with on occasion, and that Darksider thought I may get a kick out of, and acquaint me a bit more with some of what’s currently skulking around in the shadows of this strange and isolated local “scene” that seems to be rebuilding itself once again. *(This particular part of Southeastern Pennsylvania, just outside of Philly, has always had one – – – or at least since the good old days, some 20+ years ago, when it was first initiated and presided over by bands like SPACE CHRIST, AGE OF DESIRE, OLD FEZZIWIG, VIOLENT SOCIETY, CADAVER DOGS, and far too many others to list here, that continued throughout the years, passing down from generation of bored angry kids to generation of bored angry kids, carried on in later years by bands like THE BOOGEYMEN, THE NECROTICS, YOUTH OF 1945, AGENT MOFO, GET A LIFE BLOWHOLE – – – there’s never really been anything else to do in this area for kids and the musically bug-bitten young of heart, but to form a band or cause trouble, often one in the same, back then anyway – – – it’s a cultural wasteland out here. Anyway, this story eventually slowly unfold through a series of seemingly unrelated articles, reviews of material by, and interviews with many of the “O.G.” fukkers from the glory daze of this long running and deeply buried scene. Pay attention, and in time, it will come to light.)
He handed me a copy of a disc by a local band called DESCENDENCY, a three song disc being their debut S/T EP, wrapped in a packaging of brutal black and white artwork: the photo being that of a war ravaged infant, sitting alone amongst the steaming rubble of some kind of apocalyptic-like event. The cover alone could have been that to a release by some grind, death metal, anarcho-punk, even deathrock band, I had no clue – – – but I liked it. Ballsy artwork. I was curious. He told me next to nothing else about the cd, other than that they had played together, it was really fukking good, and to give it a listen. Fair enough.
What I got when I popped this in was a refreshing blast of classic, old-school styled death metal. The production is crisp and clean *(usually, sound quality doesn’t bother me, but poorly recorded death metal just sounds like rocks in a blender run through a fuzzbox – – – this from a guy who loves GG Allin, actually enjoys sketchy quality on many occasions, as long as heart is felt, and enjoys admittedly bad black metal on occasion – – – but poorly recorded death metal sounds like total shit, no way around it), the recording being engineered by FG, mixed and mastered by Jeff Miller. This three-song blast-beat extravaganza detonates with a classic thrash/speed metal riff of gargantuan proportions, followed in only a few measures by the rest of the instrumentation. “A Fist For Your Thoughts” begins the utter annihilation, a song lyrically mixing the death metal tropes of grievous bodily harm and vague political references to boil down to what is the essence of certain consequences of Freedom of Speech, in some situations, depending on who you fukked-up around. Simply put: watch your mouth *(good thing I write). Vocalist/bassist D-L reminds me a bit of Bruce Corbitt, the original RIGOR MORTIS vocalist, and he occasionally reverts back to that throughout the course of the disc – – – something I like a great deal, as you can understand every word he growls. And there is a definite Crossover-era influence as well, again most evident in D-L’s standout vocals. At other times, there is a reminiscence to Randy Blythe from LAMB OF GOD, but D-L’s vocals are all his.
The next song, “Point Of Existence,” ponders just that in the traditionally lyrically vague way death metal always has when it gets existential. Here the vocals do get a bit into the inaudible “cookie monstering” that the first song so brilliantly avoided, but it is death metal, and it works within the foundation of the piece. In fact, death metal may be a slightly limiting term for DESCENDENCY. There’s a definite thrash/speed dynamic at work here as well.
The final song, “Pathogen Culture,” ends the whiplash-quick disc on an epic note, the song clocking in at monstrous roar of 8 minutes and 9 seconds long, though it never seems that long. With more genuine political undertones and conspiracy theorist overtones, the music continually building in scale and scope, until the whole of the soundscape has been scorched by the lightning-flash sonic war and all sounds crashing to a steadied halt at once – – – leaving only the deathlike silence of a room that’s been pummeled repeatedly by DESCENDENCY’S debut S/T EP for the past couple of hours, broken only now by the sound of chirping early autumn crickets outside my window at a seven pm twilight – – – somewhat fitting and slightly haunting. *(Also refreshing, as I can only take so much death metal in one sitting.)
This is a great introduction to their sound *(I’ve checked out some other songs on their Youtube page – – – there’s a fun cover of EXODUS’ “Toxic Waltz” up there). And that’s really what their sound encompasses, kind of harkens back to: the classic days of thrash just as it was blossoming into the corpse-flower known collectively as death metal – – – soundwise they are most reminiscent of OBITUARY, with a thrash/speed/death metal crossover, not entirely dissimilar to RIGOR MORTIS in vocals at times even certain riffage *(throughout the first song, anyway), but otherwise, yeah, overall DECENDENCY come off sounding like the hate-child born between EXODUS and OBITUARY. They remind me a little bit of an old local death metal legends TREPHINATION *(R.I.P., Mike Machete), and others on an even more ancient level than that *(those long begotten early days I wrote of earlier, some of the old local “scene” death metal bands like CEMETERY EARTH). I look forward to checking them out live sometime soon. Recommended for death/thrash/speed metal enthusiasts, you should pick up this disc ASAP and investigate them further. Show some support you lazy shits!
And on that odd local level, it’s interesting to have watched various things round the full circle, so to speak. It’s not a matter of what’s old becoming new again, or some rehash recycling round *(though there are those about), because in this general area that music never really disappeared, so it’s more of a matter of growth in a sense. *(What the fukk am I even talking about?) Either that, or I’m just fukkin’ old. And thanks, Darksider, I really dug this. Short-n-sweet, blastbeats and barbarism.
Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email is email@example.com