Much like how they opened the year with the killer trio of releases from Corpsessed, Lie in Ruins and Lvcifyre, Dark Descent Records is closing out 2014 with a slew of more stunning releases from Horrendous, Phobocosm, Sempiternal Dusk, and this, the most twisted of the lot, the debut from Finland’s Swallowed.

While Finland’s death metal revival (in part ignited by Dark Descent) is typically a more crumbling, punishing and direct affair, Swallowed render their tones in more nauseating, blackened, doom/death pastures with a heavy sense of sonic ichor and psychedelic dread. It’s an unsettling and unnerving, with few moments of concentrated riffage, but nightmarish descent into insanity.

Powered by the psychotic, Attila Csihar-ish wails, moans, whispers, rasps and groans of guitarist Samu Salovaara and drummer Ville Kojonen, the 6 tracks on this release drip with a vile depravity that, while not often coherent, is palpably demented. The guitars, while certainly crumbling and earthy, play fiddle to the truly wretched vocals. The riffs squawk and writhe with dismal, sickly hues, but they never dominate or become the driving force of the music, instead along with some subtle keys and rumbling bass, provide serpentine, ritualistic background noise. Occasionally, the band do settle into a moment or two of more riff-based music like “Arterial Mists of Doom” or “Reverence Through Darkness” but it’s still a swirling, chaotic slow seep of atonality in between ebbs of dread-filled ambiance.

But it all comes together to form something horrifyingly good, and the perfect music for late night walks in the woods with your mind altering drug of choice, provided you don’t mind waking up a naked, gibbering mess. As if you could not tell from the cover, this is one of those releases like any of Mories’ projects (Gnaw Their Tongues, De Magia Veterum, etc) that simply deliver dis-associative atmospheres and nightmarish soundscapes rather than songs. It’s one of those releases that, when listened to at night (particularly “Black Phlegm” or the nauseating 25 minute, standout closing track “Libations”) in headphones in a semi-sleep state, will wake you up in a sweating, babbling, flailing panic as you swear something was crawling on you or worse, in you.

Lunaterial is arguably Dark Descent’s most dread-inducing release and isn’t going to be for everyone, especially those expecting more of the label’s top-notch death metal. But it is a demented spiral into paranoia that is well worth your time. If you dare.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 22nd, 2014


  1. Commented by: Evildeadjay

    Nice review Erik. This sounds up my alley. I’m a sucker for anything slow, spacey, and nascent sounding.

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