Desultor – Masters of Hate (2012)
Another relatively new release. Despite what December 2011 might’ve lead you to believe, I generally do not listen to a lot of new releases as they come out – I’m too busy exploring other veins of music. Technically, this was released fairly early in 2012, but whatever.
“Death metal with clean vocals”, some call this. I would not be so certain. The song structures are almost consistently basic verse-chorus, and the riffs are often modal in a fairly typical way. I’d probably put this down as an extreme sort of power metal that doesn’t really dabble in a lot of the fantasy cliches associated with the genre. Labels are kind of imprecise anyways with this sort of music. The vocalist relies mostly on clean vocals of the “power metal” sort, but occasionally backs it up with mid-range shouts. He’s got a bit of what is most likely a Swedish accent, but there’s nothing innately wrong (or right) about that. It did make this album stick out in my mind a bit more than expected, anyways.
After a while, I realized that the riffs were drawing me back. I do feel they could use reorganization into more advanced song structures, but there are some seriously good riffs on here. They’re mostly very simple, based on intervals and tremolos, but in a way it’s a triumph of minimalism – the guitar parts are memorable and intense, and trace out some interesting melodic lines. They also seem to work well with the aforementioned vocals – on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being complete non-coordination (not necessarily bad) and 10 being John Arch era Fates Warning, this is probably about an 8 or 9; the score would be higher if both were more complex. The vocalist of Desultor does not move around so much in his vocal lines; instead the guitars move around him.
Anyways, this is a rather rapid release in terms of its pacing; it finishes up in about 30 minutes. A few of those are dedicated to fillerish keyboard instrumentals – nothing offensive or cheap sounding like some of Morbid Angel’s attempts, but one could easily remove them from the album. They are the only areas where the keyboardist is used – while it would be difficult to incorporate the synthesizers into what is already a fairly dense sonic package, it could yield good results. In general, work on varied and more complex songwriting would elevate this band (at least musically) into top tier stuff. Whether or not that would translate into increased album sales is questionable, but it’s worth a try, and would definitely be worth doing in an attempt to write ever better music. Desultor remains a fairly young band, and I hope to see a second full length from them.
Highlights: “Caged”, “Division Insane”, “Masters of Hate”
Incidentally, it’s nearly 2013. I hypothesized at the end of 2011 that this year would be the “Year of the Retard”, mostly due to the hysteria over Mayan calendars. However, the intelligence of humanity, despite the many challenges it faced, remained unchanged (mostly due to these challenges also being highly prevalent in 2011). A few bits of planning:
- Music reviews should continue so long as I am alive, assuming without intentional ending of this blog. It’s not like I’m going to run out of material, even within metal alone, although I may end up doing more solicited demos and independent records if my notoriety increases.
- Pickup Lines That (Probably) Won’t Work will continue for a few months, depending on the willingness of that author to keep churning them out. Whenever they end, I will probably make my own metal-themed installment.
- Rise of the Third Rome will be updated as frequently as my work ethic allows for. Unfortunately, unless I really prioritize it, that may not be very often.
- Your duties for 2013 are to promote this blog voraciously, to the point of fanaticism. What do you mean I don’t have the authority to make you do this?
Either way, it should be a funny year. I will have graduated from the University of Rochester by the second half (slightly earlier, since the semester ends earlier).