Australians Descent dump fire, frustration toward crumbling world on ashy ‘Order of Chaos’

Hope typically springs heavily with the dawn of a new year as we wish for our lives to improve and the state of the world to grow healthier. But, who are we kidding? We’re locked in a hell pit, and there’s no reason to think that this year will be better than the one before it. We likely can say that same thing when 2023 arrives and we delude ourselves with the same fruitless optimism.

Australian beasts Descent aren’t fooled, and with the devastation they pack into their Kurt Ballou-mixed second record “Order of Chaos,” a hellish collection of tracks that seethe in the face of reality, they make that abundantly clear. Spread over 29 minutes and eight tracks, the band plies death and black metal as well as a dose of hardcore into their sooty formula that digs its claws into power structures and humanity’s will to continue ignoring its ugly history. The band—vocalist Anthony Oliver, guitarists Brendan Auld and Josh Kane, bassist Jim Dandy, drummer Kingsley Sugden—brings experience from other groups including Skoptsy, Consumed, Resin Tomb, Snorlax, though none of those have quite the scathing, unforgiving tension that Descent create.

“Tempest” starts this crazed assault by trudging and stomping bodies, letting savagery reign as chaos bubbles over. The track comes unglued as destruction waits at every turn, cement-thick playing adds pressure, and the ending is utterly beastly. “Dragged” blazes open, and it’s ferocious from the first seconds, shrieks rampaging and terrifying. Somehow the band finds another gear, completely clobbering everything in front of it, tearing psyches apart and leaving nothing but smoke. “Resolve” is mucky and grimy, coming to a boil as the growls get gruff and mean. The punishment digs into your muscles, letting devastation explode, unloading as the back of the song is buried in thrashy power. “Gathering” is a slaughter from the start as the thunderous pace and chugging guitars do optimal damage. The leads scorch, making you jump back for your own safety before the final moments spit nails.

“Fester” punches open and truck with intensity that’s frightening. The force mashes faces, settling into slow, yet heavy terrain as the vocals deface, and a skull-flattening violence heads right into “Filth.” The riffs greet you with a sneer, cutting and carving into you, splattering with mud. The leads torch and spiral into hell, the punishment increases, and a hardcore-laced attack leaves you gasping for air. “Safe” grinds and basically incinerates flesh, achieving speed and raucous energy. The melodies are thick as tar as the blows rain down, bursting with sharp shards of bone spraying toward your vulnerable eyes. “Despotic” ends the record and tramples massively as riffs angle strangely, and fiery chaos promises decimation. The growls lurch and jab as the frightening pace becomes overwhelming, drilling until an ominous cloud of dust remains.

Australia has been a hotbed for some of the deadliest sounds in all heavy music over the past decade, and Descent adds to that burgeoning legacy with “Order of Chaos.” It revels in its blackness and hopelessness, rubbing your face in the scorched earth left behind. This is a monster with which you cannot reason and only is interested in accumulating a heartless body count.

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