Friday, May 06, 2011

Bloodiest: Descent (2011)


The mere mention of the term "post-metal" is probably enough to turn many readers away. My love-hate relationship with post-metal has already been documented on this site. For every god-like Isis or insanely brilliant Neurosis, there are probably a dozen flightless Pelicans or poorly drawn Russian Circles. That's probably because they're all trying to copy the greats. But for once, there's a post-metal band that's forging their own path.

DescentChicago's Bloodiest does not sound anything like Neurosis or Isis. They also sound nothing like vocalist Bruce Lamont's "main" band, Yakuza (whom I don't particularly like). There's a lot more going on here than your typical post-metal, as you might guess from the fact there are seven people in the band. The atmosphere is paranoid, the vibe is dark Americana. It's not unlike what could have happened if Acid Bath tried their hand at post-metal.

The songs are constructed of trance-inducing riffs made from guitar, bass, piano, and drums. The guitars could be sludgy, or they could provide high-pitched leads; likewise, the full range of piano is used. But the instrument that really shines is the drums. The patterns are unusual and fairly complex, and they drive the seriously engaging riffs forward, all but forcing your body into the rhythm. The vocals, too, are superb. Lamont channels Dax Riggs in his more paranoid clean singing voice, and he serves to further induce the trance.

When the trance is in full effect, they let the song climax. All of this seems to happen organically, as there have been minor variations throughout the song. The song lengths are varied from three to eleven minutes, but none of them seem rushed or drawn out longer than necessary. Each song is memorable, and clearly distinct from the others, from the western acoustic fare of "Coh" to the heavy sludge of "Dead Inside" to the Tool-like riffing in "Slave Rule". And the whole thing finishes just under 40 minutes, though it has an impact lasting much longer.

The Verdict: This is the one of the most exciting post-metal bands to come around in a decade, and easily the front-runner for debut of the year. The album is perfect. 5 out of 5 stars.


  1. Post-metal isn't typically a favorite of mine, but the song you have linked is quite interesting. I may have to look into this further.

  2. I like a lot of the post-metal that you don't - Russian Circles, in particular!

    However, this certainly does plough a different furrow. I think "organic" is a good way of describing the build towards the climax - it's not the same quiet/loud dynamic that can sometimes make post-metal predictable.

    I'm not a fan of Yakuza either but this seems well worth checking out.