Stargazing eyes agleam with hope or some sort of misguided bemusement aimed at the infinity beyond Earth’s atmosphere has long been mankind’s own version of a dog that couldn’t hope to recognize itself in a mirror. The warmth that so many men have spent their lives seeking, some sense of meaning, amounts to nothing more than a great mass of yipping reprobates attacking a mirage of the self. This unreal pool of infinite black cosmos is itself death in the most pure sense, a swirling mass of imperceptibly strewn matter acting as a floating junkyard of chaotic disarray. All things devour it and all things are devoured into it, just as the furnace of our planet will slowly but surely swallow all unto indiscriminate death and hellfire. ‘Hell’ boils beneath us out of reach and the stomach of the void hangs above our heads, a looming master alchemist long gone insane. The work of ‘God’ is a lie shared among fools and only distracts from the power of men to shape the ingredients for life, for Earth, and atmosphere to serve our meaty meaninglessness. Long-toothed in the sweating caverns and lava-whirled tubes beneath Helsinki, Finland ensorceles a diabolically tunneling force, a weakener of constructs and wretched skull-faced worm of revelatory depth by the name of Desecresy. They would inevitably become Him, and He time and (now) time again would prove all ventures below or above, ‘Towards Nebulae’, lead to death that is without fail.
Burrow beneath the dust of ages and two decades removed from our crypts and witness the formation of Slugathor in Espoo, Finland in 1999 where artists soon (or previously) associated with Deepred, Barbatos and Evoked Curse would congeal into a vitally inspired core of Bolt Thrower and classic Finnish death metal influence. They along with Nerlich briefly represented a new tunnel of no light for the Finnish death metal underground, something crucial and bold among a lot of standardized fare. ‘Circle of Death’ (2005) was a key turning point for Slugathor as a key member had been murdered (then De Lirium’s Order‘s vocalist, Tuoppi) and from that point their sound would shift deeper towards founding member Tommi Grönqvist‘s own unique vision. ‘Echoes From Beneath’ (2009) could absolutely be considered the blueprint for the coming force of Desecresy, it very much plays as a prequel to ‘Arches of Entropy’ (2010). The project began as a duo between Grönqvist (all instruments) and original Nerlich member Jarno Nurmi (Serpent Ascending, Nowen) providing vocals. Driven, prolific and absolutely peerless for much of their first four albums the duo would produce albums that have consistently made my ‘Best of Year’ lists since 2012 due to their imaginative riffing and completely unique style that remains classically attuned Finnish death metal.
To describe the evolution of Desecresy will require a deeper appreciation for the nuance of Finnish death metal but a close ear for the work of Rippikoulu, Demigod, Abhorrence, and how those sensibilities might translate to guitar work heavily influenced by Bolt Thrower and Immolation. Grimy and drowned in cavernous atmospherics but somehow space-faring and immersive in its chugging lurch Grönqvist‘s almost polyrhythmic call-and-return style of riffing creates an infinite stream of crushing boulder upon the mind; Sinister yet thoughtful, a wandering geist of menace and spiritual transcendence at once, the stranglehold upon his own unique style would eventually find Grönqvist a solo artist after the departure of Nurmi in 2016 presumably to focus upon Serpent Ascending. This was a great test for the project because ‘The Mortal Horizon’ (2017) would be the first where Grönqvist would perform vocals in addition to his usual role as songwriter and all instrumentation. His vocal work wasn’t as refined and the style was far more guttural and ‘brutal’ enough that it felt like a stray from the established norm for Desecresy. ‘The Mortal Horizon’ was also noticeably crunchier in terms of production, alas the hypnotic nature of the record won me over, and over to the point where it was easily one of my most listened to records of 2017.
‘Towards Nebulae’ unhinges some of the dry tautness of the previous album, opting for a deeply psychedelic and bassy production sound with Grönqvist‘s trademark growling n’ needling riff style heavily accentuated. The most noticeable difference comes with his vocal performance where a greater range has been provided along with additional focus on layered vocal moments that accentuate the cosmic atmosphere of the album. All aspects of Desecresy are somehow even more tuned and affixed to theme and presence that it becomes remarkable to consider how much Grönqvist can do with the same general modus across the span of six full-lengths (seven if you count ‘Echoes From Beneath’). Desecresy are among my favorite groups of the last decade because of that immediately recognizable and incredibly effective combination of intricately brutal death/doom-esque composition and impossibly cavernous (but not obscuring) production sound. The lead guitar work becomes the narrative even more than it was back on ‘Chasmic Transcendence’ (2014) and this is really where this project stands apart from todays comparable compatriots like Krypts or even Hooded Menace. ‘Towards Nebulae’ provides a world of its own, a self-contained suffocation that cannot be experienced anywhere else and a sense of rhythm that I am absolutely addicted to as a listener.
You can imagine the score for this album climbing with each paragraph unless you’ve been listening to the album while reading and at that point you’d likely realized that the core of Desecresy‘s effectiveness as an experience, and a consistent personality, relies upon repetition and iteration. This means that the uninitiated will likely hear eleven very similar sounding and similarly paced songs before the greater nuance of ‘Towards Nebulae’ reveals itself through familiarity. This is the case with all Desecresy albums as they generally provide their own dark niche. The way I’ve always seen it is that this sound is one part ‘Musta Seremonia’, a healthy dose of ‘The IVth Crusade’ and a depth charge by way of ‘Dawn of Possession’ all developed in the solitude of an echoing cave for the past two decades. It is familiar in its old school death metal intent but completely unique it its attack; There isn’t a ton of rhythm guitar work this sustainably interesting in the death/doom sphere today outside of maybe what Nicklas Rudolfsson has done with Heavydeath in the last several years.
Your results may vary but for my taste ‘Towards Nebulae’ provides many bite-sized arguments for the success of the greater whole with shorter tracks like “Trophies of Death” and “Endless Swamp” providing instant gratification for the gorgeously dynamic thrashing of Grönqvist‘s skill and songwriting. At some point I do feel like I’ve heard some of this before but, I didn’t manage to stop enjoying ‘Towards Nebulae’ long enough to be disturbed by the continuity between Desecresy‘s six full-lengths. In many ways this does feel like a second album from a ‘new’ band where Grönqvist‘s ownership of his creation is entirely whole and impressively cognizant of its motion and atmospheric presence. From the Eldritch heralds of “The Gate” to the wailing disassociation of “Fringes of Existence” and the harrowing vacuum of death by way of “Transfiguration March” it appears as if Desecresy has never missed a beat, never let up on the gas of inspiration. Because this is a particularly fine record from one of the most consistent death metal acts out of Finland today, I can highly recommend Desecresy‘s infinitely beguiling cosmic curse. For preview I’d suggest “The Gate” and “Sediments in Blood” for a clear stylistic summation of ‘Towards Nebulae’ but the full album deserves consideration as a wholly transfixing trip.
Eternal fall towards the unknown. 4.5/5.0
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