To Descend – People of the Abyss (2018) REVIEW

‘People of the Abyss’ is the debut EP meant to introduce brand spanking new, but highly traditional, Swedish death metal band To Descend. This project is the brainchild of Mega Slaughter vocalist Jens Johansson, who also had stints in Deranged side-project Murder Corporation and early 90’s demo only project Cabal. Though Johansson spearheaded the group the execution of guitars/bass is left up to Johansson, the other one, Rogga who you’ll undoubtedly know from a mile long list of death metal bands. Rogga’s riffing here is brilliant, I don’t know how much of a collaboration the writing was but the verve of the material is somewhere between recent Master records, 00’s era Fleshcrawl, and ‘Acts of the Unspeakable’ era Autopsy.

Jens’ voice is bold, growling, and the way he’s layered it feels like a huge and exaggerated vision of classic Swedish death metal vocals. It is over the top in the same way Kam Lee‘s vocals have been in The Grotesquery though I think Johansson ends up with far better results. Each track here is punkish and straight forward, driven by howling growls and riffs with double-bass and d-beat hammering from Travis Ruvo of Akatharta and Cropsy Maniac. Because each track hits at under three minutes it never feels like To Descend push too far outside of their wheelhouse and in this way ‘People of the Abyss’ captures the intense spirit of their past work and influences alike.

The standouts here are mainly the driving semi-melodic opener “Paled Puppet” and the enormous riffs of “Die as One”. It’s a quick and loud diversion and like I said, an introduction to their sound and approach. If old school Swedish death metal isn’t your thing then I’m not sure you’ll want to hang with To Descend but there are some pretty big riffs that happen across the span of the EP’s 11 minute run-time and they’re worth hearing.

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Artist To Descend
Type EP
Released  April 30, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Chaos Records’ Bandcamp! Follow To Descend on Facebook
Genres  Death Metal

Buried shallow and escaping. 3.25/5.0

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