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Desultory
Counting Our Scars
March 2011
Released: 2010, Pulverised Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

One of the early Swedish Death Metal bands that made it into the wider sphere of North American consciousness thanks to a deal with Metal Blade. After a pair of great records, one misstep with SWALLOW THE SNAKE (which isn’t as bad as everyone says) and they disappeared off the map. Well, not really off the map They changed styles and name (to Zebulon) did a couple more records but have now reunited as Desultory to have another shot at glory.



Now with Pulverised Records, Desultory knew they had to deliver and COUNTING OUR SCARS does just that. Some bands can reunite and the hype and nostalgia is enough to sustain a reunion, but these guys were never quite at that level. They needed a strong record as they were (almost) starting from scratch 15 years later and they did deliver.



The classic, buzz-saw guitar tone, of which they were an early part of establishing 20 years ago, is fully intact as this 9-tracker hits the Death Metal highlights. The bands on full-throttle as they rip and roar through a great introduction (or reintroduction to us older fans) to their signature sound. It’s like they never really went away.



Travis Smith provides some really cool album artwork, a bit atypical for him but it’s a strong image nonetheless, and their second (classic) logo is back as well. It’s the attention to detail that helps in these situations, compel the old fans, attract the new fans. The production is very good as well, loud and proud guitars thick and upfront with the aforementioned tone that brings a smile to the face of most Swedish Death Metal fans. The songs are mid-tempo to fast, steamrolling along with the riffs being catchy in the context of relatively straight-forward Death Metal songs. Morberg sounds good barking out a harsh yet intelligible vocal performance.



It must be hard for a band like Desultory to have tried (and some would say fail) to expand their musical horizons and vision but sometimes ya gotta give the people what they want. COUNTING OUR SCARS is an apt and fitting title. They have been through the wars and have come out scarred but stronger and we the fans are better for it.
Track Listing

1. In a Cage
2. Counting Our Scars
3. Ready to Bleed
4. This Broken Halo
5. The Moment Is Gone
6. Uneven Numbers
7. Dead Ends
8. Leeching Life
9. A Crippling Heritage

Lineup

Klas Morberg - Vocals, Guitar
Håkan Morberg - Guitar
Johan Bohlin - Bass
Thomas Johnson - Drums,

Other reviews

» Counting Our Scars
by JP

» Counting Our Scars
by Aaron Yurkiewicz


Next review: » Desultory - Counting Our Scars
Previous review: » Desultor - Master of Hate

Desultory
Counting Our Scars
April 2011
Released: 2010, Pulverized Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz

Back in early ’93, I remember being in a Camelot Music record store, desperately scouring the scant rows in the hard rock/metal section of the store for some new death metal to add to my collection. I came upon a cassette from a band called Desultory, titled INTO ETERNITY. The logo looked pretty cool, the album cover was a simple, yet intriguing photo of clouds, and it was on Metal Blade Records – which at the time was generally a sign of quality goods. That album kicked my ass – traditional early ‘90s death with inflections of melody that would eventually become synonymous with the Gothenburg sound, and lyrics refreshingly free of gore and dismemberment. The album stayed well below the radar of many despite solid reviews, and was followed up by the equally well received but equally ignored BITTERNESS. 1996 saw the release of SWALLOW THE SNAKE, which was a gaffe of COLD LAKE proportions and eventually sounded the death knell for Desultory.



So after such an underappreciated existence and unceremonious exit, some were surprised when the band announced that they were resurfacing and beginning work on a new album, the now recently released COUNTING OUR SCARS. Apparently Desultory felt that there was some unfinished business to be resolved, as the band has once again kicked my ass. COUNTING OUR SCARS is the sound of a band with something to prove, and it succeeds. Desultory has found just the right balance between their old school roots and current-gen death metal for the nine punishing tracks on the album. It sounds like a simple recipe – mix the old with the new and voila, but it’s presented with a degree of matured execution that can only come with experience.



Opening with the “In a Cage,” the band lay it on the line from the get go. The track embodies everything that the album’s about – dark, heavy, melodic, emotive, and aggressive. It’s like if the 1993 version of Desultory were in an episode of Quantum Leap and ended up in 2011 with a mission to write the wrongs of today’s death metal. COUNTING OUR SCARS progresses at a consistent clip from track to track – it’s not a blitz, it’s a methodical pacing that allows you to absorb each song without sacrificing any momentum in between. The album repeats this formula for the duration, with standout cuts being the odious title track, the pit ready “Broken Halo,” the dirge laden melancholy of “This Moment is Gone” and gothic coda of “A Crippling Heritage.” Each track on the album retains a similar atmosphere of its neighbor, so there are areas where songs tend to blur, but the songs have enough unique qualities that they stand apart from one another.



Performance wise, the band hasn’t changed much in the way of strategy or execution. The riffs are still fast and chunky, and melodious, with just enough frill inserted where necessary. It’s a pretty straightforward affair that’s very reminiscent of their best stuff from back in the day, which I’d wager was exactly the intent on COUNTING OUR SCARS. The bottom line here is that a Desultory reunion was one that was unexpected, yet entirely validated with COUNTING OUR SCARS. It’s a heavy and powerful album that should merit Desultory a second lease on life. Hopefully Pulverized Records does the band justice and gets this album the promotion it so duly deserves. For what it’s worth, Pulverized has also re-released INTO ETERNITY and BITTERNESS with a ton of demo material from ’90-’91. Remastered by Dan Swanö, if you never heard these albums the first time, this is the time to do so. And oh yeah, go buy COUNTING OUR SCARS too, because it’s slays.
Track Listing

1. In a Cage
2. Counting Our Scars
3. Ready to Bleed
4. This Broken Halo
5. The Moment Is Gone
6. Uneven Numbers
7. Dead Ends
8. Leeching Life
9. A Crippling Heritage

Lineup

Klas Morberg - Vocals, Guitar
Håkan Morberg - Guitar
Johan Bohlin - Bass
Thomas Johnson - Drums, Vocals

Other reviews

» Counting Our Scars
by JP

» Counting Our Scars
by Aaron Yurkiewicz


Next review: » Desyre - Warning of the Night
Previous review: » Desultor - Master of Hate





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