Steps Of Descent
posted on 9/2008 By:
Sometimes I wonder what’s gonna happen if (or when) I get tired of metal. In all likelihood, I’ll regain a lot of my hearing, start grooming more thoroughly, and open up time in my schedule to explore new musical horizons. On the other hand, I’ll lose the simple joy delivered by releases like this one. Steps to Descend is the debut release from Virginia’s Cyaegha, and you couldn’t ask more from a young band’s first effort. Meat-and-potatoes though it may be, this Lovecraft-themed ripper constitutes a welcome addition to the ever-expanding pile of awesome death metal in 2008.
Steps to Descend barrels out of the gates with “Ulthar’s Decree,” and Cyaegha make it abundantly clear from the outset that they intend to challenge technical death’s upper echelon. There’s nary a technical mistake to be found on this disc, and a pro-quality production from Cory Smoot (a.k.a. Flattus Maximus from GWAR) renders every note as crisp as you please. Though these songs get pretty churn-happy and labyrinthine, Cyaegha fortunately exercise some restraint. Instead of stuttering and squealing their way into the mucky self parody that characterizes the Unique Leader camp, the band manage to govern their tracks with a definite sense of contiguous groove and end up sounding like Fuck the Facts covering Morbid Angel. The latter similarity is especially important; though these guys don’t really riff too much like Trey and the gang, they manage to convey some of MA’s otherworldly menace, which is pretty much exactly what you wanna do if you’re singing exclusively about ol’ Lovecraft. If anything, Cyaegha would do well to draw out that influence a little more—they’re at their weakest moments when they give into the tendency to substitute noodly tech-isms for oozing malice (“Postmortem Enlightment” opens with an aimless guitar clinic before inexplicably restarting). Actually, the more blatantly FtF-sounding moments are pretty strong as well—“Mask in Flesh” and “From the Depths” feature unexpected melodic breaks that serve to highlight the brutality of their surroundings.
If Cyaegha has a weakness, it’s their relatively uninventive style; the world is full of precise tech death bands, and these guys haven’t staked out a sound of their own. As I said, they've set out to challenge the tech death illuminati, but they certainly haven't toppled any giants yet. That said, Steps to Descend displays some songwriting aplomb coupled with absolutely murderous execution, and anyone remotely into this particular schtick will crap their pants within the first three songs. If you’re drooling over Origin, Hour of Penance, Decrepit Birth, or the like, this is a must-listen.
Register to post comments.