After two straight black metal reviews I thought I would mix things up for you, my loyal reader, with another death metal review! Only I had to mix it up on you; I’m not going to be writing about another old school band that released a decent album this year. No, my friends, today I’ll be writing about a band that formed in 2009.
Finland’s Desecresy; one of my favorite modern death metal bands and one of the few who weren’t from the old school death metal scene that I feel really get it. Many bands inspired by old school death metal (OSDM) simply ape the bands who did it first and better than them instead coming up with an original thought of their own that draws inspiration from older bands (see: Gruesome). Desecresy is not one such band; these morbid Finns write music that is wholly them, while still retaining that influence from bands like Asphyx, Bolt Thrower, and Demigod that you can hear vividly in their music.
Their latest album, The Mortal Horizon, is perhaps the most crushingly heavy album I’ve heard this year. From top to bottom and in every regard, this is a heavy album. When you think of death metal you probably think of blindingly fast drums and razorsharp guitar. This album isn’t very much like that stereotype: these Finns prefer to bash you over the head with slow, methodic, doomy death metal. It takes its time, it moves at a relatively slow pace, and then will out of nowhere pick up the tempo without it sounding out of place on the track. This style was mastered in the early 90’s by Asphyx, but Desecresy perform a great rendition on this sound.
The production is something I really wanted to touch on that I feel may be a turn off for listeners who aren’t quite acclimated to an OSDM production style. The Mortal Horizon sounds like it was recorded in a cavern. It’s absolutely evil sounding. I recommend listening to it with headphones instead of speakers so you can get the full experience and immersion of this production style. It’s a bit abrasive by design, but when you understand what the band was going for, you realize it works perfectly.
So having said all of that, would I recommend The Mortal Horizon? Yes and no. If you’ve heard any of the prior OSDM bands I mentioned before, absolutely give this a listen. It’s very reminiscent of that style without totally copying it note-for-note. If you prefer melody or a fast pace to your death metal, I don’t recommend this album; stick with At the Gates for that. And of course, if you’ve never listened to death metal before, I would not recommend this for your entry point. The Mortal Horizon is not a good entryway for newcomers to the genre.
I really enjoyed this album, though. It has its flaws, and it’s not a completely original release, but for what it is it’s a good album. I can’t say it will make it on my end of year list, but I will be going back to this album.
I give The Mortal Horizon a 3/5.
Check it out on Bandcamp here.