2014’s colossal The Bearer of All Storms was a huge, monolithic slab of atmospheric funeral death/doom. With over 90 minutes of material, it was a weighty, substantial listen that matched its quantity with an equal amount of quality.
Length-wise, this new release is not quite as ambitious, clocking in at ‘only’ 57 minutes. However, I’m pleased to say that the quality levels have gone up even more in order to compensate for the shorter material.
The band have clearly used the time between albums wisely, further developing and refining their sound. This is a more mature work all-round, with the music achieving a greater sense of space and clarity than that of The Bearer of All Storms. The music on Synaptic Veil spreads itself out through wider domains than ever before, with the band enjoying an even richer and more layered delivery than they already previously did. This is in part due to developments in the songwriting skills of the band, but also thanks to an expanded lineup, (including some guests).
One of the most striking progressions on Synaptic Veil is the increased usage of different moods and feelings across the songs to achieve different goals. This could be something like prominent clean vocals that accompany and accentuate the deep growls, classical elements that add depth, or greater use of reflective techniques on the band’s part. Like everything else here, these additions/enhancements are performed professionally and with relevance to the band’s material, fitting in nicely with their melancholy work.
The five epic songs that populate this release give the impression of individual works of art depicting sensitive and meaningful landscapes that are metaphors for the suffering of the human psyche. They’re well-crafted and thoughtful pieces, showing artists that understand emotion and use it skilfully to help shape the direction of the music. For all its sophistication and introspective content though, sometimes it all comes down to the deep growls and heavy guitars, which seem to act as base magnifiers of the unbearable pain of existence and loss.
Yes, Descend into Despair have done it again, only this time they’ve returned stronger than ever and so full of dark emotion that it’s like the album is going to burst.