Dalit – “Descent”


Dalit_Descent_0c1Dalit returns with Descent, their second full length release, seven years after their first.  Expect more of the melodic death and doom they became known for in their first release on this album.

The Norwegian band Dalit formed in 2006 with the sole purpose of “striking the raw nerves of the listener with a portrait of the abused, oppressed and derelict souls”, which fits with the term “dalit” meaning oppressed or member of the untouchables, the lowest caste in India.  Taking that into account, if fits well that their chosen genre is a combination of melodic doom and death metal, and one can see how that mission would fit nicely.  Descent is the band’s second full-length album and joins their self-titled debut which was released in 2009 to positive reviews.  For this album, the band enlisted Samuel Durling for production and Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna) for mastering and recorded the various parts of the album at several locations.

A lonely drum fill opens up Descent and immediately brings to mind some of the doom pioneers of the past, notably for me early Black Sabbath.  “Limbo” has everything  I’ve come to expect from doom metal and yet, seems very different.  Normally, I actually pass on doom metal albums because I am not a fan of the genre, but Dalit have managed to bring something new into the mix.  There are the heavy, plodding riffs and thunderous rumbling drums one would expect, but there are also some brighter tones mixed in and some quiet moments that add a needed respite from the heaviness.

“Departure” again opens up  with the rumbling, ominous tone but settles into something more akin to the song “Black Sabbath”.  The raspy, growled death metal vocals work well with the songs Dalit has pulled together on this album.  “Departure” eventually settles into a bit of a melodic groove as well which was a bit unexpected for me as was the extended quieter part following this section where the bass and drums carry things along.

What really works for me on the album is the mixture of tones and melodies that are added almost on top of the doom background.  As a result, the songs end up with multiple layers of complexity, which is important to keep listeners interested when you have songs over seven minutes long.  Ok, so for doom fans that is relatively normal but for those of us more used to punk and hardcore, seven minutes is an eternity and some variety is appreciated.  The title track is a prime example of this as the song starts out with a lone quiet guitar and then layers in another before the rest of the band joins in and from there song twists and turns in many different directions.

As one might expect with long songs, particularly within doom  metal, there are extended instrumental sections and Dalit manage to keep these interesting as well.  There are a variety of guitars layered in that almost act as a substitute for vocals, something heard often from great instrumental bands.  In fact, the song “Wasishu” is an instrumental, but on listening to the album, this didn’t even strike me as out of place.  The clean vocals in “The Hand of Phineas”  did come as a bit of surprise, however, but they provide a good contrast to the rest of the vocals on the song, again here, even the death metal vocals are supported by a guitar line over the top of the dark and heavy rhythms.

Video below: ‘Descent’Reading up on the band prior to listening to Descent, I had my apprehensions given my general lack of fondness for the genre. In Descent, however, Dalit have managed to bring a variety of other styles and sounds into a mix with the heaviness of doom metal, creating a soundscape with many layers and many twists and turns that keep the listener interested.    The result is one of those albums that you can listen to over and over without becoming bored.

Rating: 8/10

Written by John Jackson

Track listing:
01. Limbo
02. Departure
03. Descent
04. Wasichu
05. The Hand Of Phineas
06. Request

Dalit line-up:
Eirik Hellem – Bass & Vocals
Jon Ivar Larsen (Aspiration) – Guitars
Erlend Trengereid – Guitars
Cato Gulaker (Aspiration) -Drums

”Dalit” (2009)
“Descent” (2015/2016)

Record Label: Endtime Productions, March 2016

Weblinks: Facebook / BigCartel

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Video below: ‘Descent’


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