Released: 2017, Pulverised Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
And so it ends.
Outside of the occasional festival date, it’s been mostly radio silence from Swedeath veterans Desultory since the release of their more than capable 2010 comeback record, COUNTING OUR SCARS. So while the recent out of the blue announcement of a new album was surprising, the simultaneous announcement that it would be their last was not. With their swansong THROUGH ACHING AEONS now upon us, it’s clear that Desultory are not content to go quietly into eternity.
THROUGH ACHING AEONS is readily the most straightforward death metal album in the band’s catalog, even more so than their ’93 debut. A significant departure from the emo leanings of COUNTING OUR SCARS, it brings the band full circle to their primitive, Sunlight Studios roots - which seems wholly appropriate for an exit strategy. At face value, a lot of the new material sounds interchangeable with latter day Centinex or Grave, but the goth melodies that permeate across the likes of “Silent Rapture” and the title track are unmistakably Desultory.
The further you persevere into the album, the more rewarding it becomes. “Beneath the Bleeding Sky” is an epic midpoint that bridges the youthful abrasiveness of the past with the melodic predilections of their best material, as does the pulsating punch of “Divine Blindness.” The closing opus “Our Departure” is as fitting an epitaph as any band could hope for, summarily embracing everything that made Desultory unique within the Scandinavian death metal scene and amplifying that into one, final heart tugging coda.
On the real – Desultory was one of the first death metal bands to integrate unabashed melody with caveman death metal (their first demo came out a year before At the Gates’ GARDENS OF GREIF), and in a more forgiving alternate reality, they would’ve been synonymous today with the likes of Entombed or Dismember. As a fan who stumbled upon INTO ETERNITY in a Camelot Music store almost a quarter century ago, the reality of THROUGH ACHING AEONS being the last we’ll hear from Desultory is bittersweet. On the one hand, I’m disappointed that they’ll likely never get their due for what they’ve contributed to the death metal scene. On the other hand, THROUGH ACHING AEONS is one hell of an exit interview.
Know your history, listen to Desultory.