DESCENDING – New Death Celebrity

DESCENDING – “NEW DEATH CELEBRITY”
MASSACRE RECORDS (2011)

Metal Church - The Present Wasteland

Greece may indeed be a tiny country, especially when compared to places like Germany and UK, however both its contribution towards, and support of Metal music over the years has been undeniable.

Back in the 80s and early 90s, forming a decent band capable of representing our country abroad was the prerogative of the ‘chosen few’ (e.g. Flames, R.Christ, Septicflesh & Nightfall) but during this last decade, the local scene has experienced a new resurgence, with many young bands like the Athenian Thrash/Deathsters Descending making their first bold steps in the world market.

Having moved out of Athens many years prior to the band’s formation I never managed to come across their work before, so I was really curious to see what these five lads were all about. That is mainly why I decided to take on the task of writing a review for their second full-length album, entitled “New Death Celebrity).

The first thing that really impressed me prior to even listening a single note of the album was the fact that these guys were handpicked by Lamb Of God for the role of the support act during their performance in Athens back in 2010 – a decision that makes absolute sense the moment you hear “New Death Celebrity”.

Why is that? Simply because the ten compositions on offer are the product of a process of combining screaming vocals, Swedish-sounding low-chorded Metalcore riffs and, at times, excruciatingly fast drumming – all elements of a modern sounding Metal band. These ‘ingredients’ are very simple to work with on paper so coming up with a good meal should not be difficult, right?

Well, even though the band has the passion and energy needed in order to achieve such a goal, they are somewhat lacking in experience, resulting in “New Death Celebrity” being a nicely presented offering which lacks some basic ‘seasoning’. Let me explain.

“No Other Gods Before Me” provides a dynamic introduction to the album as it is filled with Dark Tranquillity sounding melodic leads, screaming vocals and hard hitting drum themes – all very promising indeed.

“Suicide Silence” aims for a similar approach with its predecessor but its unusual rhythmical structure can only be attributed to lack of focus while the down-tuned riffs and bombastic drumming in “Until I Generate” are strangely far more appealing in comparison. It was quite disappointing to be introduced to the structurally ‘unsafe’ “How Much Life Weights?” and “I Keep Returning” just as the momentum was being built and it is up to the more melodic-sounding “The Energy” and the Soulfly-influenced “Shared Planet” to salvage the album’s credibility – a task that is met with moderate success.

Though similar influences can be detected in “Escape The Mirror” the end result is once again fairly disappointing, placing all the weight upon the shoulders of the simply riffed “The Ghost Of Nation Past” and the commercial-sounding “Path To Healing” – both of which fare much better in comparison.

When I listen to “New Death Celebrity” the main theme that comes to mind is ‘unachieved potential’ which is quite a sad concept. There is no doubt in my head whatsoever as to whether these guys are skilful musicians – not when drummer Anthony has played his socks off throughout the album and the guitar duet Theo/Constantine have come up with some truly crunchy riffs and catchy melodies along the way.

Having said that, I have to admit that it is only a handful of compositions that I managed to eventually warm to and that it took quite a few spins for that to happen – a bit dangerous in an era when people’s access to alternative options is on the increase and their attention span on the decrease. These guys are on the right track to reaching their desired destination but it looks like the trip is going to be long and hard, so I do hope that they will have the strength and patience needed in order to complete it – let’s see!

John Stefanis

Rating: *** (3.0/5.0)


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