There is a saying that too many cooks spoil the broth; well, in TERMINAL DESCENT’s case there is only one cook yet the broth is still spoiled, mainly due to Tony Mikkelson’s (who handles all musical duties here) indecisiveness as to how he wants “Host Age To The Devil” to sound. Musically this band is labeled as Black Metal but in truth this is much closer to Death Metal – very twisted, incoherent Death Metal at that.
My only previous encounter with TERMINAL DESCENT was a few tracks on some compilation albums a few years back and I wasn’t really impressed back then. Sadly not much has improved, as “Host Age To The Devil” (nice bit of wordplay going on in the title…) proved to be quite a taxing listen, with the album as a whole not showing much in the way of engaging or focused songwriting. For a one-man project quite a full (“busy” is probably a better term) sound has been achieved, with lots of riffs and tempo variations thrown in, but none of these riffs are memorable and the incongruous “jazzy” interludes and downright atonal melodies certainly don’t help matters either. It ebbs and flows but nothing really ‘clicks’ and at the end of the day I felt that I listened to a series of moments as opposed to a single whole. Not fun. IMMOLATION’s music is characterized by the same methodology but where the New York veterans pull it off with class, TERMINAL DESCENT simply falls flat.
There are a few decent tracks though - just listen to “That Which Serves” and especially “Temple Of The Sun Of Non” for solid space-y Death Metal, and to the closer, a heavier number. These are the only highlights on here; the rest is all just one noisy, incoherent mess where everything is either too one-dimensional or too unfocused for its own good. The biggest problem is the fact that Mikkelson is the sole guitarist and thus does not have a partner that could provide some degree of musical counterpoint and depth to proceedings. So now there’s one guitar churning out all kinds of messy riffs and even when one of those might be good it is immediately drowned out by the fuzzy palm-muted guitar sound, something Mikkelson obviously utilized in order to create a “full” sound.
So yes, this was not a pleasant listen and to anyone willing to check this one out it will be blatantly obvious that much works needs to be done if TERMINAL DESCENT is to stand even a miniscule chance of becoming an interesting band, not to mention a good one.
(Online September 3, 2007)