By Gary Wright
Desecrate Ethereal 'The Inexorable Nemesis' (2016)
Desecrate Ethereal is a 4-piece death metal band from Des Moines, Iowa. With technical death metal at the core, the band also incorporate elements of brutal technical death metal, deathcore, brutal slamming deathcore, and djent. They set a new standard as far as speed and technicality go... not only keeping up with rivals but leaving them far behind. This group of young men demonstrate a ferocity that you'd expect from a tech death band from Iowa. The line-up is Nick Jordan on lead guitar, Brandon Feldt on rhythm guitar, Brian Gates on bass, and Tanner Jensen on drums. The band's debut 5-track EP, 'The Inexorable Nemesis' (2016), was recorded, mixed, mastered and produced by Ben 'B-REX' Monroe of Audio Aggregate Recordings in Des Moines, Iowa. This EP is a 20+ minute, righteous exhibition of heavy guitars, bludgeoning bass and sickeningly fast drumming. This is a concept release, based on Homo sapiens manufacturing intelligent alien life in the form of humanoids that develop a consciousness and begin destroying the human race... which in turn means the humans have to abandon Earth and locate an exoplanet to repopulate. Describing the origins of the band, Tanner explains that him and Nick met previously at a Rings Of Saturn (Californian deathcore/technical death metal) concert and decided to start a tech death band. They are currently trying to bring some new taste and sound to Des Moines and the scene.
Originally a 5-piece with a vocalist in the shape of one Brandon Stanley, the band found themselves without a voice before recording and ended up going for it anyway, but settled for the instrumental approach. While maybe off-putting for some, the fact that there's no vocals to kind of muddy the mix brings out the sharpness of the musicianship more, leading to the listener appreciating the nauseating cacophony of contributory prowess. Guitars come fast and heavy, reaching astral planes of enormous intensity. Bass guitar is otherworldly, crushingly powerful. The drum work is the highlight of this release, for me, anyway. Disturbingly fast and technical, the sheer inhuman speed that is reached at points during songs lends perfectly to the band's science-fiction horror film narrative. Perhaps knowing the concept of the album's story, for me just the overall sound of this EP evoke visions of aliens, cyborgs, and artificially-enhanced humans... in what could be seen as an unsettling blend of the 'Alien' and 'Terminator' film franchises.
Track 1, 'The Inexorable Nemesis' (working title 'Intro'), is an introductory piece that begins with spoken word samples from the first Alien film: "You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility." This is followed by a blazing piece of drum work and scorching guitars that give you an idea of what's to come but without ever fully preparing you for the brutality ahead. A single bass drop about halfway through accents the heaviness of the music without taking anything away from it in the process. Also keep an ear-out for those craftily-placed, stimulating, reverse snare sounds during the latter half of the track.
Track 2, 'Swarm' (working title 'De-Evolution Of Man Pt. I') is the shortest actual song, and really the slowest song, on the EP. Starting off with a more relaxed tempo than the following tracks, but still managing to accommodate fast drum fills, churning rhythm guitar, and equally heavenly and haunting clean lead guitar in the background. This track sets a modest indication of the band's abilities.
Track 3, 'Elusion Of Extinction' (working title 'De-Evolution Of Man Pt. II') is the longest track on this release, at just over 6 minutes long. It is an epic piece of speed and technicality with some ultra-heavy breakdowns which descend into a celestial soundscape of clean guitars and relatively humble drums just over halfway through, before ascending to an almost military-like, jackhammer, drum display and ravaging guitars overlaid by harmonious lead guitar.
Track 4, 'The Void' (working title 'De-Evolution Of Man Pt. III') has got to be the highlight of this release. Starting off full-on, it launches into insanely fast drums including blistering blastbeats and debauched double-bass, along with huge frenzied guitars. A real scene-setter, the listener could be directed to thinking of a raging battle between the humans and aliens. The ridiculously turbo snare drumming creates images of organized resistance fighters frantically firing machine guns at a cunning and remorseless alien species represented by massive walls of grinding guitars. At no point during this track is there a break in the intensity, with a dizzying performance of guitar, bass, and drum work that words simply cannot do justice to. Just listen to it for yourself.
Track 5, 'Xenomorphs' (working title 'World Breaker' or 'Red Weed'), marks the return of an older track but this time has taken on a new skin. The first version of this track had vocals on it, but as a whole was a lot less polished than on the re-recorded, instrumental version that appears here. In fact the vocals seemed to detract somewhat from the song's intensity. As with all the tracks on this release, the guitar parts have been redone to accommodate the slightly revised sound of the band, with much more guitar flair and added djent signatures. The drums just don't get any respite, with a marathon of ruthlessness that you'd come to expect by the time you've got to this stage of the masterpiece. This track is another highlight of this release and is another perfect parade of the band member's proficiency with their respective weapons of choice.
When I first heard this EP, I was left feeling so strongly about the band, that I didn't know how I could ever go back to anything else. For me, it truly has reached divine new heights.
Desecrate Ethereal are currently looking for a new vocalist, so if you dig what you hear and think you have a vocal ability monstrous enough to match the music, get in touch with the band or any of its members on Facebook!
*** I'd like to thank Tanner Jensen and Ben Monroe for providing and confirming details. ***
Desecrate Ethereal's 'The Inexorable Nemesis' EP is now available to buy or stream on Bandcamp, and SoundCloud.
Desecrate Ethereal (Bandcamp)
Desecrate Ethereal (Facebook)
Desecrate Ethereal (SoundCloud)
The Inexorable Nemesis by DesecrateEtherealOFFICIAL (SoundCloud)