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Album Reviews : Desecrator – Down to Hell

By on December 29, 2013

I’ve listened to a number of EP’s in my time, but I can say with absolute confidence that Down To Hell, the sophomore EP by Melbourne based thrash metal up-and-comer’s Desecrator, is hands-down the best I’ve heard in quite some time.

With riffs so soulful and inspiring (that opening and closer to “Down To Hell”!) that at times it seems almost easy to forget you’re listening to a thrash metal record and not some massive heavy metal opus, Down To Hell is by no means your run-of-the-mill thrash release, and it would seem at the detriment of the band to label it as just any other thrash metal record currently on the market. Down To Hell has so much more depth to it than your average thrash record, and is so much more layered that I’m honestly left in awe to think there’s only actually four songs on this whole EP, ultimately clocking in at less than 25 minutes. The way the tracks have been arranged, and the pure depth of material being gloriously shoved down your ear canal is an admirable feat in itself, and feels so much more engaging and longer than it technically actually is while listening through it.

The interwoven guitar solos that emerge sporadically in the mix (instead of the usual singular build up towards one) and rhythm section of the twin-guitars, bass, and drumming are the absolute highlights of this record, and really bring you as the listener to a higher state musically. You can’t help but get caught up in the entrancing display that is Desecrator’s unique and solid blend of crushing ferocity and soulful melody. It’s incredible to contemplate the level of work and effort that’s gone into this record, and even more incredible to think how fantastic the quality of the production here is for an independent release, too. Mixed and recorded by Joel Taylor (Inverloch, In Trenches) in Melbourne, and mastered by Harris Johns (Sodom, Kreator) in Berlin, Germany, Down To Hell builds a large framework, while managing to remain grounded and still sound dirty and rough-cut in parts as a thrash metal album should.

It’s got to be said that Riley Strong’s vocals are a breath of fresh air. What he gives you here is different from any other thrash metal album I’ve heard over the past few years, and helps differentiate Desecrator from the hordes of other thrash bands currently on the market. This isn’t the raspy, strained vocals of John Kevill (Warbringer), nor is it the crazy, over-hyperactive screams of David Sanchez (Havok), and furthermore doesn’t come across as being just like fellow Aussie thrash bands such as Mason and Harlott, either. Desecrator are truly a thrash metal unit unto themselves, and if Down To Hell is any indication (as I’m sure it is), I cannot wait to see what these guys pump out next.

What Down To Hell gives you is a new thrash metal experience (or at the very least something separate from the current formula), and an album that only seems to get better on repeat listens. You tend to discover something new each time round: a little riff or drum part in the mix you may not have noticed before; a solo or melodic interlude beautifully melded into the crushing rhythm section; or perhaps even a bass line beneath the arrangements, further building the amazing ambience this album festers.

It was a struggle to find a standout track here. With the great song writing and lyricism on offer, every track on the EP gives you something different, while at the same time retains a great level of consistency throughout the record that only serves to enhance the listening experience.

These guys may have formed in 2008, but I can sure as hell say that Down To Hell is one of the freshest and most interesting thrash metal albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to all year.

Band: Desecrator
Album: Down to Hell
Year: 2013
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: Independent
Origin: Melbourne

Track listing:
1. Down to Hell
2. Rise and Fight
3. Brothers in Arms
4. Balancing on a Blade


Jonathon is an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist and music journalist. Thanks to the influence of the music he grew up with, he has always possessed a keen interest in metal and rock. He is also a huge fan of mythology, legend, and folklore from all across the world. You should follow him on Twitter.