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4 out of 5 skulls
January 13, 2012 |

Mr. Death Descending Through Ashes

2010’s Death Suits You EP not only had one of the more kick-ass covers I’ve seen lately, it was also chock full of buzz-sawing Swedish death metal. Mr. Death may not play the most varied of styles, focusing on what the masters of the genre (Entombed, Dismember, etc) started, but man, do they play it well. I loved Death Suits You and ended up playing that album a ton over the past couple of years. Thankfully, the band’s latest full-length, Descending Through Ashes sees them keeping to what works for them — tried and true Swedish death metal.

Once “To Armageddon” gets off to a raucous start, you notice immediately that the production of this album is raw as fuck. The band has always had a less-than-polished production on their releases, but this one seems to have been dragged behind a malevolent semi hell bent on putting as many miles on his transmission as possible. This shit just sounds as though it’s been through Hell and back. “The Plague and the World it Made” is the only song from the band’s last EP to appear on this album and it’s delivered just as well as I remembered, except of course for the gravelly production — I can’t get over how well this lo-fi feel fits the music.

The opening guitar work to “Come Winter” is memorable and catchy as fuck as the guys descend into a bludgeoning mass of riffs and thundering rhythms. It’s a slower moving track, but damn it if it’s not catchier than gonorrhea at a GWAR concert. “Your Final Demise” is a devastating rash of buzzed out guitars and relentless drums as the band goes for the balls with low end guitars and guttural growls.

The catchy riffage of “Bloodfalls,” the utter pounding of “Another State of Decay” — incidentally one of my favorite tracks — and the title track’s thrashtastic riffs are not to be missed. The guys do a fine job of not getting mired down in the buzz-sawing riffs, injecting a little piano (“Stillborn in a Dying World”) and a couple of movie sound clips to allow a little space here and there for you to get your head above the muck and sludge to catch enough of a breathe to dive back into the churning well of death metal.

Descending Through Ashes doesn’t see the band progressing too much nor will it be an album that will win many year-end awards, but it’s just too damned catchy for it’s own good, especially considering the glut of retro Swedish death metal out there now. Mr. Death know how to play this shit and they play it more than well enough to separate themselves from the posers and assbags out there trying to glom onto the resurgence of one of my favorite metal genres. When it all comes down to it, Mr. Death kick some serious ass with their latest full-length so quit fucking around and go buy it already.

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