Review Summary: A forgotten gem from the over appreciated Swedish death metal scene.
The funny thing about Desultory is why the fu
ck does everyone forget about them? Common discourse would lead you to believe that the allegedly influential Swedish death metal scene is limited to an At the Gates, Dismember, Entombed power trio. In many ways, Into Eternity
is the red headed step-child of the scene, falling chronologically and sonically in between the earlier more aggressive Left Hand Path
and the later, poppier Slaughter of the Soul
In spite of its inexplicable obscurity, Into Eternity
is a remarkable album. Painstakingly thrash-influenced, Desultory's debut album is neither overly melodic nor relentlessly aggressive; in fact at first glance, it's unassumingly somewhere in the middle. Of course it only takes about 2 minutes for Desultory to find their footing and about three minutes for the listener to regret putting them off for so long, since it's about a third of the way into the introductory title track that the band hits you with apocalyptic guitar leads that sit comfortably between hyper-thrashy verses and a soaring guitar solo. The production is anomalous of the scene, sounding remarkably clear without coming off as safe and replacing the traditional Swedish "crunch" with a tastefully audible balance of instruments.
Much like its Swedish compatriots, Into Eternity
essentially revolves around one core song being more or less re-written 9 or 10 times. And much like with its compatriots, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Into Eternity
is thrash influenced and guitar dominant, revolving around Stefan Poge's hook-y, proficient leads and constantly fluctuating moodiness. Highlights include the contemplative hooks in "Tears", the doom-y intro to "The Chill Within" and the nearly perfect "Visions", but Into Eternity
is ultimately an album best absorbed as a whole. Though it starts to overstay its welcome about three-quarters of the way in, its relative obscurity pardons its tendency to drag.
By finding a happy median between melody and aggressiveness, one would assume that Desultory would have been able to carve a niche alongside its peers. Instead, they released the relatively mediocre Bitterness
before they turned into a death'n'roll band and broke up. In spite of their later journey into the pits of mediocrity, Into Eternity
proves that, at the very least, there are more than three bands hailing from Sweden and that there are more than three Swedish records worth hailing.