Desultor: Masters of Hate

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Desultor: Masters of Hate
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Desultor: Masters of Hate
Death Metal, Progressive Metal
Abyss Records
March 20th, 2012
Release length: 34:38
Myspace
Reverbnation
If you’re a fan of Metal, you typically get a little excited when you hear the location of Stockholm, Sweden. Given how many top billed acts come from this region throughout the many styles of this genre of music, and there never really seems to be a short supply of new talent. This is where Desultor comes in. This one letter shy of a trademark infringement Progressive Death Metal act formed back in 2007, and after two demos find themselves signed to Abyss Records to issue their debut album, Masters of Hate. This comes roughly three years after the latter of them. So, does this band live up to the general expectations laid out for their geographical location and its legacy in the Metal world?

First of all, this album is simply heavy. The deeper audio quality carries enough of a raw atmosphere that the instruments are crisp enough to show a bit of a digital trait, but still muddy enough that some of the faster chords can seem to blend together. The distortion used is a little on the sharper side with a mid-range pitch to them. These end up grounded well thanks to the subtle bass that you can pick up on, but often doesn’t really add much of an impact other than a low toned supporting role. The vocals are quite different compared to others in this style, going for the more traditional clean singing, but a bit nasal, similar to something you would hear from Nevermore. These are about the same volume level as everything else, which drowns them out a little more than they should have been, which is rough considering how hard the drums hit. The snares have a deep thickness to them with a louder click to the bass kicks, both thundering over everything despite being about the same range, and the cymbals are a little more in the background compared to the rest. But, while all this doesn’t quite sound inspiring, it honestly helps to create a very brutal, and even ominous atmosphere to the music that hits the listener in all the right ways.

Masters of Hate also seems to be set up as a conceptual album. The release is seperated into different sections thanks to the instrumental tracks “Chapter 1 – The New Era,” “Chapter 2 – The Phoenix,” and the conclusion “The End.” These offer a Science Fiction vibe to the music, though largely sounding the same each time, and give a breather to the intense carbon copied music that follows. “Black Monday” is the first of a few unique songs that don’t quite do that, as it really is just a far more intense listening experience. The music just hammers away with chords that match the machine gun double bass kicks and a highly enthusiastic vocal performance, never letting up with it’s unrelenting fury. In addition to the ominous tone displayed, the vocals give it a bit of an emotional terminal twist no other song quite has. “Division Insane” also throws something different the listener’s way, but actually feels a little bland in the long run, coming through a bit more on the generic side while also slowing down the bass kicks, giving a mediocre singing performance, and allowing a brief pause around the two-minute mark to go into a solo. You can also find some melodic hooks in the guitar that tread outside the blistering Death Metal sound the band has established up to this point. This does show up again later on “Caged,” and ends up a stronger song thanks to a little more intensity and power involved, though isn’t quite as unique. The last different offering here ends up being “Masters of Hate,” which incorporated two-step bass kicks, one man layered gang chant style vocals in the chorus, and a rougher pitch to the singing at times. There are plenty of passages that still sound like any other song on here, but it makes a nice break from the norm to close out the album with.

“Denied” quickly marks the turning point of the album, sadly. It weaves in a nice mixture of the Progressive and Death Metal styles, especially towards the end during the guitar solo, which is a simpler performance, but one that really stands out. The guitars have a decent amount of subtle variety to them, pandering more to the latter of the two aforementioned approaches, and the shifting between verse, chorus, bridge, and any other sections of the compositions is done well each time. The vocals pack a good deal of range into the mix, and the overall performance is exhilarating, able to whip the listener into a frenzy similar to “Black Monday,” but as if the music itself were slightly coming off a sugar high. But, this also outlines the rest of the material on Masters of Hate. By the end of “Chapter 2 – The Phoenix,” you’ll start notice the double bass kicks hammering away at the same exact speed in each song outside a momentary break in he music, usually to introduce a guitar solo, or conclude the song on a slightly different tone, the speed of the guitars are the same with subtle variety to make them come off like new songs, and the vocal performance is pretty much the same as even before “Denied.” Unfortuantely, the material after “Chapter 2 – The Phoenix,” is no different either, and with exception of one less song before “Caged,” they even seem to share the same kind of foundation of more intense song, a little less crazy, then a song with some melodic hooks at times.

Desultor is a group with plenty of potential, and Masters of Hate will definitely rip your face off starting the moment you hit the play button. But, that really only stands for the first few songs on your initial playthrough. Once you reach “Chapter 2 – The Phoenix,” you’re almost guaranteed to lose interest. You can only listen to the same drum performance, and even similar song foundations so many times before you get sick of hearing it, and unfortunately that’s what this album is composed of. If there were more variety here, such as a different speed for the music on more than one or two songs, or even giving the bass kicks a break like with “Masters of Hate” and the brief two-step passages. There’s no real restraint or apparent interest to explore the boundaries of the band, limiting their sound to slightly altered carbon copies of the first song. Instead of “album of the year” quality, you get what becomes the equivalent of visiting your sick grandmother: Crazy delusions that are really enjoyable until you realize her Alzheimers has her doing the same thing over and over, causing it to no longer be fun, and thinking of a reason to try to leave without hurting her feelings incase she remembers you were there.

01. Chapter 1 – The New Era – 2:01
02. Black Monday – 3:19
03. Another World – 3:44
04. Denied – 3:47
05. Division Insane – 3:00
06. Chapter 2 – The Phoenix – 1:22
07. And So We Bleed – 4:08
08. The Luxury of Pain – 5:06
09. Caged – 3:13
10. Masters of Hate – 3:36
11. The End – 1:21
Overall Score: 4.5/10
Desultor (band)
Desultor
Digital review copy of this release provided by Abyss Records via Clawhammer PR.