The Transience of Flesh

Descend to Acheron

Australian newcomers DESCEND TO ACHERON come crashing into the blackened death metal canon with their […]
By Andrew Graham
November 27, 2020
Descend to Acheron - The Transience of Flesh album cover

Australian newcomers DESCEND TO ACHERON come crashing into the blackened death metal canon with their brutalising debut EP. Short but sweet, the songs on this release tell you exactly what this band are about: crushing riffs, relentless blast beats, and superb vocals that combine death growls and black metal shrieks seamlessly in a formula that is perfectly meshed. What we have here would be a worthy offering from a band already well-established. As a debut it hits the ball out of the park!

As a noted genre-nerd, I get massively excited about hybrid genres. Not only is it a joy in itself to spot the elements borrowed from the parent-genres, the real pleasure comes from finding those bands that successfully merge their parent genres together in ways that are clever, original, or otherwise satisfying. Blackened death metal is not a new phenomenon, and through bands like BEHEMOTH has even achieved a kind of mainstream notoriety (if not outright popularity!) I have a Polish friend who is definitely not a metalhead who, when I mentioned I listen to heavy metal, asked "Do you know BEHEMOTH?" Could be a coincidence, but she assures me that everybody in Poland knows them!

After a crushing intro, title-track "The Transience of Flesh" bounces seamlessly between death and black influences, never allowing the listener quite long enough to slot it comfortably into one box. A dissonant and disquieting solo crowns this opening stomper. "Plague of Superstition" opens with a flurry from bassist Matthew before the listener is assaulted with a variety of vocal styles and whispers.

Then commences "The Godless, Part I" wherein we are treated to more luscious bass work from Matthew. There are basslines here that would not be out of place in DEATH'S later releases. We then fade seamlessly into "The Godless, Part II", which opens with a slower, more deliberate pacing before rebuilding momentum. The ability of this band to switch up between black and death styles and motifs has not eroded, indeed it strengthens as time goes on. Again, we close with another distressed solo that reinforces the overall dissonance on display, before the track ends: more like slams shut.

Not that we get a break, as "Your Suffering is a Gift" opens almost immediately. We are treated to an almost mournful solo, followed by guest vocals from Pahl 'Doomslayer' Hodgson. It's a jarring contrast but not out of character to what we've had so far, and thus it's a fascinating detour! "From the Mouths of Wolves" opens like a weird hybrid of early MESHUGGAH and DEATH'S acoustic moments - another odd combination that just bloody works! Some of the riffs here seem to allude to the other songs - a wonderful piece of linkage that very few bands do! Traditionally it's a technique associated with symphonic music ('recapitulation' for those who appreciate technical terms) but you do occasionally see it in heavy metal and boy is it satisfying!

The track ends on something of a cliff-hanger, which frankly is making me gag for a full-length album from these guys! Even the production is polished. The recording and mixing suggest a band far beyond the limited lifespan of this group. Granted most of this group have cut their teeth in other bands over the past few years, for any band to offer something of this quality and gravitas as a debut album is a triumph. If this EP is any indication of their future, then DESCEND TO ACHERON have greatness ahead of them!

8 / 10









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"The Transience of Flesh" Track-listing:

1. The Transience of Flesh
2. Plague of Superstition
3. The Godless, Part I
4. The Godless, Part II
5. Your Suffering is a Gift
6. From the Mouths of Wolves

Descend to Acheron Lineup:

Matthew Phillips - Bass
Kieran Murray - Drums
Peter Clarke - Lead Guitar
Dave Hawkins - Rhythm Guitar
Andy Kite - Vocals

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