We live in a ‘cross-over’ world now; the Canadian acoustic/indie band Walk Off The Earth can cover “The Backing Up Song”, a song that is nothing more than a news report that someone Auto-tuned, and get over four million hits on Youtube. If that is popular, it is possible for death-metal and trance/electronica to jump into a pool together and come out dripping gold. Silent Descent, from Dartford, England, are this exact combination. Their album Mind Games features Petrucci-esque guitar solos backed by DJ Tiesto-esque aural landscapes, and it all works surprisingly well together. This is still metal though, fast riffs and death growls are the backbone of this band, so Mind Games is not as much of a splintering as it is a progression of the genre.
The most fun I had with this album was listening to the heavy synth sections paired up with a metal drummer. The electronic drum kits that trance music uses are fine and fit the genre, but the computerized nature of them take something away from the performance. Pairing up the vast soundscape of trance with a sweaty, pissed off metal drummer is something you only realize is long overdue after you have experienced it. The genres of melodic death metal (Silent Descent) and new hardcore (Dance Gavin Dance) are noted for their juxtaposed vocals; unintelligible screams and clean, melodic singing play off each other in most songs. It only makes sense to balance out super powered, crunching guitars with a clear and piercing synth line.
“Psychotic Euphoric” has a good synth hook with a classic metal guitar riff to back it up. “Breaking the Space” has the dystopian tag line of “Eat, defecate, sleep, procreate” spoken by a computerized voice with a dub-step beat stepping in during the verses. The most head banging you will do to classic double bass kicks comes in the track “On That Trip”, which also features some of the best trance/metal mixes on the album.
Silent Descent is not for everyone, they are still a death metal band, so do not expect to enjoy their music just because you play around with a synthesizer every now and then, but they are doing something innovative.