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Mid-paced and crushing. - 72%

ConorFynes, August 20th, 2016

I don't think there's so wide a divide between the old school and modern in a genre as there is with death metal. A style of music wouldn't last a year if there wasn't some manner of evolution at work, but in the case of death metal, the modern death metal template serves to undercut what made the genre so good in years past. As curmudgeonly as that sounds, there isn't a ton of modern-sounding DM out there to help change my mind.

Fortunately, there has been no shortage of solid traditional death metal releases for those who know where to look. Desecresy is one such band, coming up amid an already-saturated Finnish scene and casting a lasting impression all the same. My quick towards these guys is in no small part due to their likeness to Bolt Thrower. To those versed in the Finnish death scene, this may not come as a surprise; the band Desecresy was born from, Slugathor, baked their bread from a similarly crushing mid-tempo, and earned much of that same comparison. For Desecresy's part in it, they've already made a bold contribution to the traditional revival on The Doom Skeptron in 2012. Those who got a chance to hear that one when it came out should know what to expect here, both in terms of style and quality.

For those who haven't heard Desecresy before, expect crushing riffs, a controlled rhythm section, angular lead melodies and a prevalent doom metal influence. While the songcraft is arguably more predictable on Stoic Death than it was circa The Doom Skeptron, it is interesting that Desecresy can hold true to the same style for years and still manage to create engaging songs. Like Bolt Thrower, part of the success here stems from the fact that their formula itself is so solid. The slower pace allows their riffs time to breathe. Unlike even many of their tradition-based contemporaries, Desecresy don't try to sonically overwhelm a listener with activity. Rather, the simple, eerie leads the band like to layer the riffs with enrich the music with atmosphere purely because they're not trying to compete for disc time.

The riffs on Stoic Death are solid across the board, especially when they're combined with the atmospheric leads. Where the album begins to falter is the production itself, which feels muddy and somewhat toneless, even in a genre that usually encourages those things. As a result, Jarno Nurmi's vocals are hard to tell completely apart from the riffs, which chug away, eating up most of the sound in the recording. The only thing that manages to escape the murk are the lead textures, which may account for why they seem so effective on the album. It is to Desecresy's credit that they limited Stoic Death at little more than half an hour in length. It's a solid effort from cover to cover, but their singular focus to their formula may have grow tired if it marched much further on. I wouldn't say it's the would-be classic that The Doom Skeptron was some years back, but there's no doubting these guys have the classic death formula nailed down to a science.

Originally written for Heathen Harvest Periodical