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To Descend - People of the Abyss Award winner

To Descend
People of the Abyss
by Kayla Hutton at 29 April 2018, 5:02 AM

From Sweden / USA TO DESCEND has released their debut E.P. “People of the Abyss” on April 16th via Chaos Records. Haven’t heard of ‘em yet? Understandable. Maybe once you hear the low gargling slit throat bark of Jens Johansson he may sound a bit familiar. He once fronted MEGA SLAUGHTER (1987-1992) and MURDER CORPORATION(1995-1996). His distinct vocal ability and sound should catapult TO DESCEND into the limelight with vocalists like Chris Barnes and Martin Van Drunen. Next up Rogga Johansson. He has played guitar with PAGANIZERREVOLTING, and STASS (with Felix Stass of CREMATORY), as well as released his own solo album, also on Chaos Records. Last but not least drummer Travis Ruvo who has been in CROPSY MANIACAMONG THE DECAYED and AKATHARTA. So here are with these death metal powerhouses who live and breath to play music coming together as TO DESCEND and giving you a bulletproof brick wall of death metal.

The first track “Paled Puppet” is their best foot forward on this E.P. It really defines the audible side of the death metal genre. The vocals are pitched in the fashion of a deep growl with an occasional CANNIBAL CORPSE style higher pitched “aaaahhhhh’s” rounding out a verse and entering the chorus. The speed picking is precise and the overdubbed harmony provides more drama and texture. The E.P.S title track “People of the Abyss” starts out like CATASTROPHIC’s “Hate Trade” or JUNGLE ROT. Very thick and heavy, some groove and simplistic to start. While “People of the Abyss” starts solid and slow it kicks into a faster tempo, still with grove, and still solid. The solo has a lot more melodic features than death metal and it is short and sweet, and I mean short. There are brief moments among the side swiping beats that hit like a collision where I was reminded of GOREFEST.
Not so much the blast beat death metal but the stronger bash beats.

“Die as One” is the most dangerous song here. I say this due to the absence of my cognitive thought as I was under the influence of TO DESCEND. While it was only a little over 2 minutes in length when I returned to reality I looked to see my speedometer well over the legal limit and my knuckles totally white from aggressively gripping the wheel. Just because a band can play fast doesn’t always mean they can actually instill an emotion. As I released the tension held by my jaw and pulled into a gas station, I actually felt exhausted. “Die as One” is gripping and relentless. The musicianship brought to the table by TO DESCEND is brilliantly evident throughout. While the bass isn’t easily separated it does blend and provide that extra oomph, thus passing the car stereo test. “People of the Abyss” is the result of musicians with years of expertise under their belt from separate ventures coming together and creating the perfect monster.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Paled Puppet
2. People of the Abyss
3. Untie It
4. Die as One
Jens Johansson - Vocals
Rogga Johansson - Guitar/Bass
Travis Ruvo - Drums
Record Label: Chaos Records


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Edited 03 December 2022

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