Last year, Desolation released Screams Of The Undead, a record consisting of solid enough Swedish death metal that didn’t do much for me. But they’ve come back and upped their game with a short-story styled EP titled Where Darkness Dwells. It’s a horror concept made up of three songs, showcasing stronger songwriting abilities. Losing the obvious melodic-death tropes that littered earlier releases certainly helped out a bit as well.
What also helps is that the traditional Swedish tones are present enough to stand out but aren’t overloaded with an obnoxious level of buzz. Softer moments only add to it, giving the intro and mid-section of the title track some extra chills. The transitions for that are spectacular, and the way a steadier bridge hooks back into the main riff near the end is excellent. “Demonic Possession” is a bit different as it sticks to the traditional formula the most, which is also nice.
Keeping it that way also allowed for a more detail-oriented tune overall. The clearer vocals make it easier to follow the lyrics (obviously), and the simmered backbone allows for a fluid center. “Towards The Beyond” contains the most somber passages, but it doesn’t hold back from ending on a punchy note. Riffage bordering thrash aesthetic carries things out, reaching a monstrous monologue that oddly cuts out a bit too suddenly. This is probably the weakest track of the three, but I can’t complain too much.
In short, I’d summarize Where Darkness Dwells as something like a short King Diamond-type mini-effort going death metal. Nothing is overly unique, but the identity is there. Desolation showed some very clear band growth with this release, which was refreshing at minimum. Anyone who loves death metal or horror should seek this out.
Where Darkness Dwells came out on January 7th, 2020, on Bloodsoaked Records. Find yourself a vinyl copy or hear it digitally here.