If you cast your mind back to the turn of the current decade, you may remember a certain subgenre gaining rapid traction within the extended alternative scene. Being forwarded by acts such as Asking Alexandria, Enter Shikari, The Devil Wears Prada and at the time, Bring Me The Horizon, synth-laden post-hardcore, metal and dare I say it, Electronicicore were some of the key driving forces within the alt scene. Whilst not on par in terms of status and size as the aforementioned acts, the Dartford based ‘trancemetal’ act Silent Descent were certainly a prominent name within the respective UK underground scene at the time.
Following their the release of their debut full length in 2008, an offering titled Duplicity, the group won Kerrang’s unsigned live competition, performed at Bloodstock Festival and headlined Download’s Thursday night boardie takeover in both 2009 and 2010. During this time period, it honestly seemed the act where destined for massive things and were often regarded as the nation’s hottest export to the genre’s respective underground scene. Clearly however, it wasn’t all meant to be. Following the release of a handful of EP’s, the group announced declared a hiatus, primarily due to the woes of being sealed to a poorly handled record label. However, remarkably, the group are back and with a new full length in tow; Turn To Grey.
Whilst the group have stated that the release signifies them moving forward both mentally and sonically, immediately, this a record that whole heartily embraces the tones and atmosphere present in the days when the genre was most popular. Understandably the most prominent element of the release is the continuous contrast between the sugary sweet electronics and post-hardcore aspects. It’s the signature sound of the genre, one that’s easily distinguishable and somewhat nostalgic of the time when this respective genre was at its peak regarding popularity. Even the lead vocals, courtesy of frontman Tom Watling are typical of the genre; soaring percussive highs lead to plummeting harsh screams. Yet, one of the most surprising elements of the album is the focus on bringing more emotive and minor keys and atmospheres into the forefront. Whilst their corresponding genre is archetypically known for its wild, adolescent and chaos inducing tones, Turn To Grey sees a more mature and conscious effort to ensure a level of emotion. Both ‘Paths winding’ and ‘Sticky Fingers’ ensure a more unprecedented level of emotive symphony, an aspect not commonly found in this genre.
Yet, with all this in consideration, seasoned veterans of this genre and related scene may find this release somewhat frustrating. Undoubtedly, their long established sound shines though, but hardly breaks the mould this genre provides. Sure, it’s a direct throwback to the simpler days when electronicore and trance-metal where on everyone’s minds and certainly a cut above the level of a lot of the bog standard drivel that came out of the woodwork at the time, but it feels a little late. If this was released, say, in mid-2010, it would certainly be a talking point of the scene, and a release that would drive the act to great heights due to it’s awareness of what the genre’s target demographic needs. But such a demographic and scene have moved on and adapted with the times. Certainly, it’s an appealing record and one that’s conscious of the aspects of the genre it targets, but in this day and age, younger, slightly ignorant listeners unaware of such a longstanding genre may see it as it a bit gimmicky. It’s a shame, the love and dedication required to craft this release is clearly evident, but it remains to be seen how the related scene will react to such an aged sound, even if it complies perfectly well to the norms held by the scene years ago.
Pre-order the album here!: http://silentdescent.bigcartel.com/product/silent-descent-turn-to-grey-signed-pre-order