Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Desultory - Counting Our Scars

Desultory - Counting Our Scars (PULVERISED Records - CD 2010)
I guess the subject of comebacks from the netherworld of all those long time buried bands is as controversial as annoying and gathers as many opinions as there are people who are telling them. But it is equally frustrating and surprising to hear another news about band X coming back - either with just some gigs (my beloved mighty Morgoth is next in line, damn it! What for I wonder?!) or with new recordings. I have no idea if it's middle age crisis why all of a sudden these guys decided to remind us about what they've been doing 10-15 years ago or just a fashion / trend / call it whatever you want... Again, opinions may differ, but I have to say it's sad to see band like Gorefest coming back, doing two decent albums and then splitting up again, because the profits were not what they've expected to be. What the hell...? Did they think death metal is commercial pop music that can give them millions? Or another example - Nirvana 2002; as much as I love their music, I can't understand why someone, who lost interest in death metal 20 years ago now wants to play it again?

Where do I go with all this? Well, a whole book may be written about these reunions, but I want to say that some of these resurrections have resulted in some cool or even great albums I'm thankful for. Let's see - Pestilence, Asphyx, Seance, Interment, Autopsy... I love their last works. And now the main reason I write this review - Desultory! Geeeeee - do you remember them?! I must be honest with you; I love their music. I know Desultory from my teenage times, when I was 13-14 and that was 17 years ago, when I was listening to two great albums from this Swedish band and I also loved their video for the song "Winter" (one of my favourite videos along with those for "Lake of Tears", "Dark Age", „Where The Rivers Of Madness Stream” and the clips by Dismember and Morgoth). For the music they did on these first two albums I'll worship Desultory forever. But then the band did a mistake and recorded something called "Swallow the Snake"... and just like some other bands I liked, especially Morgoth, Carcass, Cemetary and Gorefest, they brought shame on their name. A real fucking disgrace. But now Desultory comes back with a new album, 15 years since the split up.

Is it good to see Desultory exhumed and brought back to life? Well, now when I listen to their new work I can definitely say YES! First of all because it may give them a chance to erase „Swallow the Snake” and secondly because it will remind us - all their old fans - what was Desultory style like and why did we liked it so much. Two things are absolutely obvious to me and don't need any discussion: Desultory had their own, original style and „Counting Our Scars” is just as good as "Bitterness" and only some of the production values reminds me it's an album recorded in XXI century. I'm happy already when I hear that amazing voice from Klas Morberg, who's one of the best death metal growlers ever, in my opinion. No one else has voice like him - quite understandable and melodic, but still so damn rough and aggressive! Great voice, really!

I've mentioned the production values... It's one of the best things about „Counting Our Scars”, in my opinion. The sound is selective and clear, very professional but aggressive, just as the modern metal album should sound like, but at the same time it also connects us with the past of the band, as the guitar sound and drums are classic to the bone. It's like Desultory tried to get the production of "Bitterness" (which is very classic Swedish sound) but update it with XXI century feeling. They've managed to get it perfectly and the result is stunning. I love the way „Counting Our Scars” sounds.

Another thing is the music. The drums work is perfect, just like in the old days of Desultory, when they had this unique cooperation of drums with the melody of guitars. I don't know why, but I always felt that the way Thomas Johnson plays is very original and when I listen to this new album this feeling comes back immediately. Just listen to the title track and see what I mean; by the way, this song could easily be from "Bitterness" LP!

But „Counting My Scars” is not the only great song here as the entire album is totally worth and with no fillers here, just killers! It's amazing; it's heavy and soooo damn melodic (with great guitar leads) and almost catchy, at least catchy in death metal standards. I know that it may mislead many of you: words: Swedish, melodic, catchy could bring bands like In Flames to your mind, but remember then that Desultory is DEATH METAL, not ONCE DEATH METAL, BUT NOW HARDLY EVEN METAL style of music, ok? While listening to „Counting My Scars” you may find out what memorable, powerful riff is, as it will crush you, hit your head with incredible force and so will stick in your mind for quite a while.

And finally someone got the meaning of melodic death metal right! „The Moment Is Gone” with its amazing opening theme is one of the best moments. Uff, what an incredible song; definitely it's one of the highlights here. But is there even one song that I don't like? No, there isn't, doesn't matter if we listen to "Uneven Numbers", „The Moment Is Gone”, "Counting the Scars", "Ready to Bleed" or "In a Cage"... They're all great tunes by one and only Desultory! When I listen to them I do have a feeling that I missed this band much and another listen to this album proves that. Welcome back!

I can only be thankful to DEATH METAL GODS (as Johnny from Unleashed would say he, he) for bringing Desultory back to my life and drink another pint of my fave lager to honour them. "Counting Our Scars" is an album I'd like to recommend to everyone; doesn’t matter if you're an old Desultory fan or someone, who only just discovered this name... that doesn't matter, just get this new album and listen to it. For me it's one of the top 10 as for the best albums in 2010... No more no less.
Best songs:  "Uneven Numbers", „The Moment Is Gone”, "Counting the Scars", "In a Cage"
Final rate: 99 / 100