Anarchos' Descent Into The Maelstrom is the kind of death metal release that takes you by surprise. It definitely is an unsuspected, unimposing release; five songs of death metal with little outward awesomeness appearing. Standard song titles such as "Morbid Ways to Decay" and "Anointing of the Sick" don't immediately grab the attention of seasoned listeners and the artwork, while pretty cool, isn't awe-inspiring initially. What will grab the listener's attention is the expertly crafted songs on what I would classify as an EP. With a strong rhythmic underbelly, Anarchos finds themselves in the sort of position which other bands often times do not. With a focus on excellent song structure and riffs, and less emphasis on leads and technicalities, the songs breathe like snow covered antebellum beasts waiting for a time when destruction and violence can be applauded and revered. The time has come: Anarchos has come. While some of the influences and sounds are expected, the band being from the Netherlands, the sound of the release does not seem to match it's release date. This sounds like 1992.
Across Descent Into The Maelstrom, we are awarded with a band that is part Grave and Dismember with a splash of Ashpyx and momentary waves of Slowly We Rot Obituary. The evidence is conclusive. With Anarchos, they've taken parts bands that are often copied and cloned and beat back the forces that be to create space and identity. While opening track, previously mentioned "Anointing the Sick" is standard fare, in retrospect, after a full listen through of the rest of the album, it is an excellent starting point. It presents the style of Anarchos without fully revealing all the band has to offer. It is "Morbid Ways to Decay" which, at least for me is the highlight and after a listen, I love the song's name. It is no longer a generic name. With the track, we get strong riffs that lead to crushing verses and a persistent headbanging bulk courtesy of the rumbling natural drum tone. But we are also awarded great Swedeath bridges, and blessed with a finale of slow crawling chords painted with haunting lead melodies. It's the kind of material which you rarely find on newer releases.
Perhaps it has something to do with the experience of Anarchos' members. Both Vincent Drenton and Ardy de Jong were members of Ulcerate Fester. Martin Brakert is a part of the disdainfully unorganized Burning Hatred which has experienced tons of member issues. Either way, their knowledge an appreciation for their death metal art is keen. Particularly important for the effectiveness of Descent Into The Maelstrom is the bitterness of the production. Clarity is high and yet, the whole thing is a mess of disgusting distortion. Thick and heavy like walls of granite covered in slime the density of mashed brain matter. The bass sounds like a rusty hammer being used to cut through flesh with disregard for pain. The guitars are quality death metal constructs. Evidence exists that proves all sorts of unbelievable things. The evidence here proves that amidst all the mediocrity, there are still some awesome death metal being pumped out of countries originally bastions of talent in the 90's. It's strange how things work out, now that I've listened to and really enjoyed this EP, the cover artwork is no longer boring and instead reminds me of a twist on old Swedish death metal demo covers. The song titles are now very cool and Anarchos has my ears.