Desdemonia - Anguish 01Have you ever been in the middle of something and suddenly realized you had no idea what you were doing? Desdemonia understand the feeling, but only vaguely, after wandering off in the prime of their career. After two LPs, followed by a nine-year beer run, the Luxembourgians (I believe that’s an AMG first!) remembered to write some more surprisingly decent, albeit rusty, melodeath on 2010’s Existence. Unfortunately, that aptly titled reminder slid off the fridge and eight years passed before they finally answered their label’s phone calls. But don’t worry about a lack of momentum. Fourth album Anguish lives every day like someone suffering from anterograde amnesia; the facts remain the same, even if the narrative sort of trails

Anguish‘s openers “Reaper of Souls” and “Anguish” linger like a familiar scent in the air, a shadow you just can’t place. With hearty construction and melodies so thick you could chip a tooth on them, you have to imagine Desdemonia kept their ears to the ground – if not in the studio – for the last eight years. Tom Dosser growls sweet nothings with the depth of Johan Hegg and the malcontent of Peter Tägtgren, matching the instruments in brazen chest-puffery. Marc Dosser (also on the mic) and David Wagner riff like Rogga, recalling the Paganizer Bunny’s recent Stass outing with their heft, though they don’t bother with the snoozy death/doom elements. However, the first few tracks stumble over run times too unwieldy for their average hooks and lack of development. Five(ish) minutes is simply two(ish) minutes too(ish) long for structures like these. This speck of early album rust can be excused, but if Anguish keeps up like

The Luxembourgians’ (ooo, that’s new) fourth album Anguish sounds oh so much like an album you’ve heard 100 times before, but in spite of itself, it succeeds. Heavy verse-chorus reliance can be a drag without marlin-landing hooks, but when Desdemonia find their feet, they somehow make it work. “Deceiver” throws it back with muted chugs, an old school sneer, and a bit of Amon Amarth spirit that really makes the album come alive when done right. It can’t hurt that Mssr. Dosser – rather, Mssrs. Dossers, as both are on the mic, deliver their headiest performance yet. Their conviction is their greatest asset, as riffwork can be hit or miss. The strength of the album lies tucked into the forcible head-bobbing nature of “Cross the Line” and the sinister verses of “Revenge,” which, like the rest of the album, punch simply and effectively above their weight. However, longer track times mean that the largely forgettable choruses occasionally come around too often and solos do little to imprint further. Those issues compound on “Endless Fight,” yielding a song so generic that off-hand I struggle to recall any

Desdemonia - Anguish 02

Desdemonia have spent a lot of time on the melodeath circuit, and it shows on fourth album Anguish. Tipping into and out of Bolt Thrower grooves and Amon Amarth stomp isn’t easy, but when done right, they really make the album come alive. Master mixer Fredrik Nordström produced names like In Flames (when they were good), Opeth (when they were good), and Arch Enemy (when they were good), and he’s a natural fit for Desdemonia‘s sound. Anguish arrives with brutality firmly intact. The Luxembourgians navigate the alternatively warm and sweltering passages of “Out of Sight,” the somehow catchy knuckle-dragger “Revenge,” and the melodic black charges of “Weakness” thanks to his work. I still wouldn’t mind more presence for Tom Michels’ cymbals, and of course the bass, who could forget the

Desdemonia‘s fourth album Anguish exceeds the sum of its parts thanks to an almost casual ability to turn what should be too little into just enough. It doesn’t have those ooey-gooey hooks or those shining, shimmering sing-alongs to rattle around your head, but it gets the job done all the same. Still, Anguish lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. If Desdemonia want to hit the next level, they’ll have to dig up at least the sais quoi, if not the whole damn thing. As good as this is, the band needs output that you don’t see every day to stick in the minds of listeners, some trivial memento that keeps you coming back. Oh hey, maybe this will do it, did you know these guys are from Luxemb


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Mighty Music
Websites: desdemonia.bandcamp.com | desdemonia.net | facebook.com/desdemoniaband
Release Dates: EU: 2018.03.23 | NA: 03.30.2018