The strange case of trance metal: Silent Descent

A few years ago, while I was listening to some electronic music on YouTube, I came across a metal X-file that I didn’t decide on during much time. The algorithm of the video website wisely mixed my video history full of metal themes with my new interest, and in the recommendations appeared a band called Silent Descent, which promised an unprecedented musical mix that they called trance metal. The mixture of the darkest of electronic music with metal is something that comes from far and that has produced excellent results like industrial metal. But in the case of industrial, both styles are made for each other. I didn’t see it that clear in the case of trance, so while I was about to click on the thumbnail showing the provocative album’s cover, I thought there were only two options: either they nailed it, or I was about to listen to something aberrant. To my surprise, it turned out that they lacked little to create something great.

Mind Games by Silent Descent cover

Mind Games (2012)

It turns out that all this story of trance metal comes from far, as far as 2005, when six UK kids founded the band. In 2008 they released their debut album, called Duplicity (which I couldn’t find), and they won some prize from a rock magazine, they played at festivals, etc. His next album, titled Mind Games, doesn’t see the light until 2012. And this is the album that I listened to that evening on Youtube.

That first time, I thought I was listening to Linkin Park on meths. Now seriously, Mind Games is an original and interesting proposal. Although classical metal and trance don’t seem compatible genres, Silent Descent is able to adapt both to make the mix work and, as for metal, they decide to go the way of metalcore, a subgenre that is much more integrable with trance. In short, the album is composed of standard soft metalcore, with catchy choruses sang in clean voice, mixed with some darker standard trance. And the sum of the two standards gives rise to something original. There are very cool songs and intense moments as is the case of Psychotic Euphoric, with which you soon find yourself humming, Mind Games, with a great bridge, or the heavier Bricks or Bring-In-Sanity. Nevertheless, both genres don’t get to mix completely in the songs, and it seems that trance and metalcore go each by their side, as if they had no relation. The only song in which they get both to complement and integrate in your brain is in the song Lasting Impression. This was the track that made me think that, well built, metal trance was a new subgenre that could develop a lot in the future, because the truth is that I found it really interesting.

On the other hand, the album also suffers from the typical disorientation of the beginner, plagued by dispensable moments or interesting ideas poorly executed or unthought-out. And finally, if there was something that I found extremely annoying, it was the vocals. Mixing several clean and unclean voices randomly and alternating all the time overloads the songs and the hearing a lot, so it’d be worthwhile that they decide on a style and, given the nature of the music they want to do, I’d go for clean singing . It seems that they try to shoehorn gutturals to seem more… heavy. It’s no coincidence that the song that I liked most, Lasting Impression, is one of the few that didn’t have growls.

Remind Games by Silent Descent

Remind Games (2014)

This work is a kind of spin-off of the previous one, in which remixes and variations on the themes of Mind Games are presented. It could work if it weren’t because they forgot all the metalcore and simply offer easy remixes of the electronic parts of the songs, with some guitar details here and there. Not worth much, although it made me think that maybe in the future the band was going to turn more electronic. The only thing I can say in favour of the album is that at least the vocal part is more bearable.

Silent Descent Turn to Grey cover

Turn to Grey (2017)

Any note of originality or quality that I could find in Mind Games, an album that I’d describe as enjoyable, seems to have vanished with the last work of the band, Turn to Grey, published last year. Now they’ve become Linkin Park in amphetamines, and I’m not kidding. The type of metalcore they bring us this time is of the most standard that can be found in the market, the kind that is sold for two euros a kilo. The choruses are extremely poppy, the melodies clear and easy, the electronic music doesn’t seem like the dark trance of the beginning, but it isn’t more than a simple accompaniment that makes the melodies more obvious and the whole less interesting. At least they have solved their problem with vocals and now almost everything is clean singing, but the quality of the music leaves much to be desired. Not to mention the lyrics. Here is an excerpt from the song Sticky Fingers:

Cause’ she’s my medicine
But I’m not the kind of guy to meet her mother when
I have kissed her with this mouth
Tastes sweet not innocent, but I’m not worth the time of day
Her daddy say to stay away, stay away, stay away from me

Yes, no matter how incredible it may seem, the members of the band are actually older than 14 and those are the lyrics they write. No comments.

So here ends for me this little story about trance metal. Silent Descent made a good attempt, but for now they’ve been left on the road. I’ll have to wait to see trance metal taken to the next level. Until then, keep on rocking… 😉

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