Descending Through Ashes
posted on 11/2011 By:
I may have said it in previous reviews, but it nonetheless applies here: personality goes a long way.
Mr Death bleeds personality, or will to people who consider 34 minutes and 22 seconds of Sunlight Studios-influenced, chewier-than-a-Fruit-Rollup Swedish fucking death metal to be as cuddly as a peacefully snoozing Elmo. Sophomore effort Descending Through Ashes brings this, showing a serious affinity for the death’n’roll side of the coin. In this way it comes up a tad closer to Massive Killing Capacity and Wolverine Blues than to the debut albums of those respective bands, only far looser. While their songwriting isn’t as adept as their forebears, they play it like they mean it, which again, goes a long goddamn way.
Descending Through Ashes is not the surgical speed-demon that many a Stockholm death album hath been. The majority is instead a mid-tempo, intentionally imprecise romp, preferring to slowly pummel and thump the listener with a hard rubber mallet than to shred them with a fully charged buzzsaw. And thump they do, with simplistic riffs delivered through a MEGA-dirty guitar tone, naturally produced drums and a generally loose presentation that gives off a real live-in-the-studio vibe. This feel permeates the album, bringing cohesion when Mr Death decides to add the ever-so-slightest touch of variation – which really only comes in the form of some occasional speed, such as on “From the Valley of Defilement”. Riffage sometimes enters redundancy, but concise song structures and have-skins-will-pound simplified drumwork keeps things moving; that and the irresistibly raunchy tone.
In the interest of offering a counterpoint, there is nothing original going on here, and Mr Death is a long way from competing with the groups that created this vaunted style, but that doesn’t necessarily make Descending Through Ashes any less fun or successful. This album isn’t meant to replace anything, but instead to give a group of scythe-swinging-Swedes an opportunity to pay homage to their heroes. It’s obvious they’re having a complete fucking blast, and that right there is the personality that -- you guessed it -- goes a long way. There is a general tone about Descending Through Ashes that the guys in this band couldn’t bullshit their way to album sales even if they tried -- they’re just too completely honest and in love with the almighty metal.
Entrails may still bring the best contemporary example of an advanced Stockholm sound, but Mr Death’s garage band charisma and roots-metal attitude should help them carve out their own spot.
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