Jan 042011

2010 saw powerful new releases from two first-wave Swedish death-metal bands that we meant to review: Evocation and Interment. We failed miserably in following through on our intentions, as much as we liked those albums. However, the new album from yet a third first-wave band is now almost ready for release, and we’re not going to miss the chance to write about this one.

Formed in approximately 1989, Desultory was caught up in the hotbed of Stockholm death metal. They released three demos between ’90 and ’91 (From Beyond, Death Unfolds, and Visions) and a 1991 EP called Forever Gone. That led to a signing by Metal Blade for a three-album deal. 1993’s Into Eternity and 1994’s Bitterness (both recorded at Sunlight Studios) were well-received and solidified Desultory’s role as one of the progenitors of a more melodic brand of Swedish death metal. And then the train went off the rails.

Guitarist Stefan Pöge left the band, and the remaining members made a musical course change, producing an album called Swallow the Snake that apparently left death metal behind in favor of hard rock and groove metal. We haven’t heard that album, but from what we’ve read, it clearly disappointed Desultory fans in a major way. For all intents and purposes, Desultory came to an end, with the three members from the Snake album continuing on as a rock band under the name Zebulon.

But Desultory is now back.  The remaining three members from the 90’s — Klas Morberg (vocals/guitars), Hakan Morberg (now on guitars), and Thomas Johnson (drums) — have recruited bassist Jojje Bohlin and have produced the first Desultory album in 14 years. It’s called Counting Our Scars, it’s scheduled for release later this month, and it’s a welcome throwback to glory days. We got an advance listen — and yes, Desultory is indeed back, with a vengeance.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »