Given that virtually every metal band from the early ’90s whose members are yet living has decided to reunite, it’s no surprise that death metal cum rollers (but let’s not talk about that) Desultory have also thrown their hat into the ring. Their newest record bears the disconcertingly angsty title Counting Our Scars, but lays all fears of modernization to rest with a raw, popping snare, vintage vocals that fans of Tompa will adore, and a charmingly amateurish logo of old. And though the arrangements may be a bit more straightforward and the refrains a little snappier than in the old days, three out of the four original members ensure that the hooks are as tightly packed as ever. In short, this is what The Haunted ought to have sounded like, back when someone, anyone, still had faith in them. Headbangers unite.
But wait — isn’t Sickening Vaults about unearthing the cold corpses of old instead of pandering to the new? Yes. The reason Desultory’s new record earns any mention in these chambers is simple: their back catalogue, Into Eternity in particular. Long before the name was co-opted by a preening cabal of Canadians, Into Eternity called to mind ravenous, thrashing, Swedish death metal that presaged the above named and, most notably, death-thrash titans The Crown by several years. Indeed, listening to Desultory’s ‘Tears’, one could be forgiven for thinking it was from the Deathrace King sessions – a record that wouldn’t be released for almost 10 years more. And although Counting Our Scars has a distinctly Slaughter of the Soul vibe, it was Desultory playing tight thrashing death metal while At the Gates were still convulsing horrifically on The Red in the Sky is Ours Indeed, Desultory were always their own masters, sometimes even to their detriment, and their name must endure in its own right. This new record may not burnish their name any brighter than it already was, but at the least should shine a greater light upon their legacy.