Sound: I am a massive fan of old school Swedish melodic death metal and upon learning that unsung heroes Desultory had released their first album in 14 years, I had to friggin' get it.
'Counting our Scars' is a good example of how to do things right. A sound captured just after the first wave of Swedish death metal but just before the rise of the Gothenburg scene (such as Dark Tranquillity and In Flames), Desultory have done well to update it with modern production and the results are quite something. If it were a ball of meat, skin and caviare then the staples (this analogy is getting weird) are some biting vocals, tight and impressive drumwork and the riffs that capture that powerful feeling of the riffs from the Gothenburg scene yet are played much like a full on death metal band would.
One of the main highlights of this album is this packed up energy that the band have been saving which they unleash at certain points in songs. Listening to just the first track, is it me or does the tempo very steadily increase as it goes from thrash beats to blast beats and back again? This happens in many songs and has some sort of inherent 'swing' in the shift between tempos. Seems 14 years of hibernation pays off. // 9
Lyrics: This dude Klas, has a fairly unique sounding mid-range growl. Thinking back, it sounds much like the Swedish bands in 1995. Also a tight guitar player, Klas's vocals have this sort of force within them that makes many other vocalists (some I admire, as well) seem like they're a little half arsed at times. Oddly enough (and very much for the better) the clean vocals from their supposed swan song Swallow the Snake (which was some sort of At The Gates meets Audioslave failbag) aren't featured.
Lyrically, a lot of the content seems much like a poem but holds emotional value through the vocal delivery rather than just being read. Honestly I find many lyric heavy bands like the Swedish death metal bands just seem to read behind the shoulders of one another in a long queue but even so, they are well delivered. // 7
Overall Impression: Desultory have come back at a time where reunions are becoming a small fashion but a much welcomed one. Many 1990's metal acts are resurfacing and pulling surprises off like this with big aplomb and yet subtly explosive enthusiasm (..yes, I read that too and commence facepalm) and in a time when the sound has become soft and its just the oldies rehashing their debut's, Desultory have given a stonker of an album.
Songs to look out for: Try 'In a Cage' and the title track first, but its all good. // 8