Tuesday 7 May 2013

Redwood Hill - Descender

This is the debut record from Danish post-metal band Redwood Hill. It was released earlier this year by the awesome Bloated Veins. Marco from Redwood Hill was kind enough to send me a CD copy of the record to review and it came in a really cool gatefold case, with really nice artwork. Descender has been released on CD, vinyl and as a digital download. Redwood Hill have played with some of my favourite bands of recent times, Hexis and This Gift Is A Curse (amongst others), so I was pretty excited when I was given the chance to review this record.


1. Aten
2. Dybbuk
3. Tristesse
4. Poseidon
5. Croatoan
6. September

In this digital age, it's really hard to keep up with all of the bands that are vying for our ears. Nobody can possibly listen to them all. That's why it's great when a band reaches out to you and sends you a physical product. It stands out (that's not to say that digital products don't). I'm just speaking, as I do all the time, from a fans perspective.

I've been holding off reviewing Descender, but couldn’t hold my excitement any longer and had to stick it in my CD player. Being Danish, I knew they were gonna be good, as Denmark can do no wrong at the moment. Descender does not disappoint. Aten is a prime opening song, heavy, claustrophobic and with enough angular structure to straddle multiple genres. As well as the heaviness though, they do pepper Descender with passages of ambience that tend to help them transition between songs. This happens at the end of Aten and leads you into Dybbuk. The vocals at this point tend to lean towards black metal, but with the faint melody of the guitars, the sound manages to stay the right side of it. The clean vocals mid-way through Dybbuk coupled with the harmonies makes it a real pleasure to listen to. I love this band already and I'm only two tracks in!

Redwood Hill's post-metal moments shine through during their more ambient passages. Their quieter more experimental sections are worth waiting for, as they shine light over their heavier parts and show their love for variation. Tristesse is a great example of this, as it's mostly instrumental and really simple in its delivery. The riffs though towards the middle of the song, when the band kicks into forward gear sound great. It's like they tried to play djent without listening to it and still made it sound better! I know it sounds a lot like I'm gushing over this, but this is my release. Some people drink loads and pass out, some people do drugs and some hit other people. I listen to and write about music I like, which in my view is a much better use of my time!

Sat staring out of my window as the sun as Poseidon plays is a treat. That same instrumental build up that graced Tristesse rings out, before crescendoing into another roaring, black metal infused hymn. The other thing with Redwood Hill is that they don't play beard-strokingly long songs. Okay, they're longer than the ADHD generation can cope with, but they are too the point and contain plenty of impact. The production also helps to get their message across. It's good but not too glossy, which is the way it should be with a band of this quality.

The guitars at the start of Croatoan sounds pretty upbeat, coming from a band that label themselves "Depressive Nordic Metal". That upbeat feeling soon gets banished though, as Marco's growls are introduced again. There's also more of a bass heavy feeling to the song, which heralds some doom/sludge influences within Redwood Hill's arsenal. All too quickly, you find yourself listening to the opening bars of last song September. It's a cold and chilling end to an awesome record, as if it's trying to herald in winter. It's also the fastest song on Descender in terms of speed and aggression and shows Redwood Hill in a more urgent light. It's got elements of hardcore and grind in it, but it doesn't lose that sense of black metal either. An epic end to an epic record! 

Both Redwood Hill and Bloated Veins have done a great job with this record. If you haven't checked them out yet, do it. If you have, go and buy the CD or the vinyl version.

You can stream the whole record below:-

As well as streaming it, if you like it make sure you buy it on either CD, vinyl or by digital download from the above bandcamp page. You definitely won't regret it!

Redwood Hill's website - http://www.rwhband.com
Redwood Hill's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/RedwoodHill
Bloated Veins Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/Bloatedveins

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