Album Review: Desecresy – Deserted Realms
Reviewed by Sam Jones
Desecresy are a band I’ve known for some time, yet for years I haven’t returned to them. With the release of their eighth full length album in thirteen years, having formed in 2010, Finnish one-man band Desecresy are finally back on my radar. Formed by sole member Tommi Grönqvist out of Helsinki, Finland, Desecresy is certainly a passion project whereby the band now has an illustrious eight full length records under its name including a handful of Singles. The release of their first studio record, Arches Of Entropy, was the flare gun to bring on an onslaught of studio records that have only continued to exemplify the Desecresy form of death metal. Now, just over a year following 2022’s Unveil In The Abyss, the band seek to release Deserted Realms upon their fanbase for a September 26th date. Let’s take a peek inside and see what Desecresy have planned for us.
One/man bands are far from a rarity this day and age, but it’s great to see when such a band is still going after a good amount of time, Desecresy are one such example, now on their eighth full length album and, from initial listening, it appears little has transpired to curb mastermind Tommi Grönqvist’s dedication towards churning out one record after another. Desecresy’s approach to death metal, for years now and with little sign of changing, has been towards crafting soundscapes that are as crushing as they are visceral since the songwriting is greatly geared towards balancing that incessant blast beat attack with a riff style that’s not only meaty but also branches out to more cerebral avenues now and then. This ability to divert from what sounds like a straightforward death metal assault is necessary to maintain audience attention since longtime fans will go into Deserted Realms knowing what to expect, and newcomers will be curious as per what separates Desecresy from the slew of newer acts. It must be said that the band’s overall approach to riffs is chunky and gets us on board right away with a tone that’s as thick and inescapable as the ambient horns this record opens with.
You’ll notice quickly how Grönqvist’s vocals are aiming for a particularly guttural delivery. There’s no hope in discerning specific lyrics throughout this record, for the delivery is rent with a depth that turns the vocal performance into another instrumental piece. In many ways this is literal music to fans’ ears as they know the band are vying for that totally encapsulating experience where the lyrics don’t necessarily matter and the songwriting becomes king. With that said, the vocals mesh well with the rest of the instrumentation for they never try and overpower the riffs on display; naturally with this being a one-man band there’s no debate required with other members as to how each element should be mixed together. Everything boils down to Grönqvist’s input and I’d say he’s done a quality job at ensuring this record feels as organic as it possibly could; the tone his vocals possess match the riffs effortlessly which ensures there’s no conflict occurring which can distract the audience between one aspect of the instrumentation taking a greater precedent over another.
Where the drums are concerned, you can’t really tell all that much from their performance whilst the rest of the band are also playing. Sure, you can pick up the cymbals, the bass drums and the rest of the performance to some degree but it doesn’t strike you in the face as other death metal acts have gone for. In many ways, Desecresy’s aim for this record was to establish a pretty rounded album experience that sees the full band coming together whereby no one aspect is left behind nor is it given especial importance over another. Yet, I did feel the drums had a little to be desired when the songwriting is moving at its maximum intensity and strength; with that said however, I really managed to feel the drums heighten in presence when the pacing was slowed, the riffs stripped back or when blast beats were incorporated. In a curious twist the drums felt to take on more life they deliberately attempted to break free of the mould the songwriting had otherwise bound the rest of the instrumentation into. It’s been some years since I really listened to Desecresy for my own pleasure so perhaps it’s simply due to time, but this could potentially be something Desecresy looks into: allow the instrumentation to break out sometimes for the capabilities are clearly there.
I also noticed, throughout the record and as various tracks reached their end, Deserted Realms makes it a habit to include these ambient horns and synths all throughout its runtime. We first noticed it towards the beginning of the album, yet it’s a pleasure to see its more than a mere introductory phase to the record and is treated with as much effort and planning as any other piece of songwriting Grönqvist was working with herein. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t do much new nor does it imply something more than we haven’t heard before in this atmospheric implementation of synths in death metal, but it’s nice to simply acknowledge that there’s more afoot throughout this record than what we immediately know we’ll be faced with. It also throws in a little more unpredictability into their soundscape since the album doesn’t include these ambient pieces at the end of every track, so all the while we’re vibing to the crushing soundscapes this record throws up our interest is poised towards what else the band may be hiding. In an album that otherwise doesn’t cover up much, it’s a needed factor.
In conclusion, Deserted Realms reminds me of why I enjoyed Desecresy’s style of extreme metal in the first place: it’s not vying to be the best work of death metal you’ve ever held, it’s simply looking to be entertaining and to provide you with just under forty minutes of death metal that isn’t going to take you through many twists and turns. But it also demonstrates to me, as a listener who’s experience the band’s earliest albums too, how Desecresy really haven’t changed that much in thirteen years and now on their eighth album. I wouldn’t mind seeing something new or a shakeup to the Desecresy formula happening at some point to keep things fresh yet, knowing the band’s catalogue and their approach to extreme metal, I can’t see that happening. Perhaps Desecresy are a band I return to once in a blue moon yet it’s always an occasion I enjoy since there’s no smokescreens or illusions regarding what the band are like. If fans enjoy what the band provide then there’s really no cause for disappointment since the band aren’t looking to hide anything they aren’t otherwise including in their songwriting. All in all, this is a solid release and ultimately a great acknowledge of Tommi Grönqvist’s ability to create new material in albums one after the other. Certainly recommended for newer adventurers into death metal.