Silent Descent: Mind Games

The debut album Duplicity from trance metal band Silent Descent had fans and media alike enthusing and drowning it in critical acclaim to set the band as one of the rising forces in UK metal. Now they return with their follow-up album Mind Games and it is fair to say the septet from Dartford has set the bar even higher. The album bristles with intense energy whilst pulsating through dazzling and mesmeric sounds that envelope and sends the senses into welcome spasms of rapture. It is immense and continued evidence of the gripping further promise of the band.

Silent Descent formed in 2006 and set about forging their love of Scandinavian melodic death metal with trance elements to create a unique and compelling sound. They soon established themselves as an impressive new force with Duplicity two years later alongside being declared ‘Top Unsigned Band’ by KERRANG! Radio.  Since then they raised their stock with stunning live shows whilst sharing stages with the likes of Skindred and Alestorm as well as earning strong acclaim from their appearances at the Bloodstock Festival 2008 and the Download Festivals of 2009 and 2010.

Mind Games is a powerful release that feasts upon the senses with deliberate intent to consume and agitate, its blend of  heart thumping aggressive intensity and bewitching yet intrusive electronic manipulations and soundscapes a full and greedy experience that one cannot resist diving deeply within. From the opening synth led instrumental Overture there is an instant siren pull, the brain mesmerised by the expansive sounds though aware that soon a violation is going to crash the peace. Psychotic Euphoric is that intrusion, an intensive examination of the ear as it burns the flesh through thunderous rhythms and scorched guitars from Tom Callahan and Jaco Oxley. As a balm the flowing warm synths of Paul Hurrell caress the damage as do the clean vocals alongside Tom Watling who just as impressively punctures the ear drum with his bile encrusted growls.  The blend is perfect between the glittering trance sounds and melodic metal directness. The band brings Pendulum into an In Flames mix and then twists it upside down into their openly unique concoction.

The title track raises the temperature further. Its groove playing the emotions like a conjuror whilst the drums of Jerry Sadowski cane the ear skilfully and with perfect control. The dark immense riffs fuse a compelling union with the escalating work of Hurrell and Kipster with his DJ/Samples invention, but it is the heavy handed malicious tones that make the track as powerful and irresistible as it is.

Bricks is the first track where bassist Jimmy Huang is more distinct, his menacing prowling riffs bringing a depth and sinister essence behind the flowing smooth melodic majesty of the vocals and keys whilst the black metal scrawling vocals of Watling again is instinctively and eagerly challenging. Four tracks in and there is a certainty brewing  that the album is going to continue to deliver to its every end the high quality and consistency so far. The excellent imaginative Coke Stars and probably the most inventive song on the album, the emotive and explorative electro expanse of Devoid, plus the provocative immense Sober Thoughts soon provide the evidence,  holding  on to and improving the great heights and invention already reached.

Mixed by Pontus Hjelm (Dead By April) and on some tracks by hard dance DJ Technikal, plus featuring vocals from Sarah Jezebel Deva, Mind Games is a deeply enjoyable and impressive album. To be fair at times the distinction between songs is not as defined as one would have hoped, there being a similarity that invades the creativity but as the songs are of such quality it is just been picky to be honest. The craft and thought in the music as well as the realisation is stunning.  Silent Descent certainly lead the way in UK trance metal, the album pushing its boundaries with possibly only The Browning and their brutal merciless take on the genre being a step ahead across the globe right now. Go grab Mind Games you need its infiltrating splendour in your lives

RingMaster 17/04/2012

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