There are boundless ways the world has been prophesized to meet its demise. Solar flare? Been there, done that. Mayan-predicted heat-death of the universe? Old news. How about polar ice caps melting and drowning every corner of the globe? After this winter—not likely. However, one threat holds true: a sudden and catastrophic scourge that grabs the entire planet by its throat and throttles it into submission, leaving it gagging, gasping for air and grasping for life. This is Descolada, the end-all virus from Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Gameseries, and appropriately enough, the latest release from New Jersey’s most misanthropic and mutilating metalcore act to date—Ender. Descolada manifests itself with every ounce of Card’s viral strain’s lethality, but combines it with all the aggression and straightforward brutality Ender are known for. Skull-smashing breakdowns and immersive, intense atmosphere melt together with skin-shredding, prolapse-inducing heaviness to create an aural apocalypse that pours down upon the listener like rain, but melts their sanity as if acid.
The one common factor in every end-world prophecy and prediction is violence. The world won’t simply fade, subtly as day does to night—there will be no peace when the reaper finally comes calling. In this respect, Ender’s Descolada hits the nail firmly and squarely on the head. Descolada is a collection of intense, abusive and annihilating tracks that will leave the listener flayed, blistered and bloody. Even the introduction, “Stunner,” which starts off smoothly enough quickly decays into waves of crashing, colliding dissonance that align into a perfectly synchronized phase of pure punishment. Guttural, grotesque low-down vocals and groovy, gut-wrenching guitars slam against the listener’s chest like twin sledge-hammers, cracking ribs and splintering the listener’s spirit. The same intensity is prevalent on the opening breakdown to “Neuralyzer,” which makes use of deep, grimy chugs and hair-raising, squealing harmonics to create a clashing dynamic that reaches into the listener’s brain and puts a chokehold on their sanity. The rollicking aggression and violence rampant throughout “Neuralyzer” is characteristic of the entire EP—with no holds barred, it smashes through the listener’s skull like cheap plastic and tears the listener’s sanity to shreds.
There is a different, haunting aspect to Descolada, however—a facet that makes it different from the other end-world possibilities floating around today’s society. Descolada is home to a series of jaw-droppingly immersive atmospheric elements that encompass the otherwise enormously destructive components to the release. “Pieces of Silver” and “Neuralyzer” make brilliant use of Ender’s newfound penchant for atmosphere. With the same skull-splitting, down-tuned dissonance prevalent throughout This is Revenge, Descolada wraps those entrail-eroding sections of soul-smothering heaviness in ethereal touches. Whether it’s the eerie ringing of keys and electronic elements in the introduction to “Pieces of Silver,” or the fluid, dynamic fretwork surrounding the chug-heavy catastrophes which highlight “Neuralyzer” and “Buhguul,” these sprinkles of harmonization and serenity to the “crush first, ask questions after” attitude Ender have perfected over the years are certainly welcome. The way these two elements work alongside each other is almost catalytic, combining into one steamrolling chimera of awe-inspiring brutality.
With brutalizing, raw energy, the virus that is Descolada pierces the listeners skin, tearing through flesh and cracking bones. Once buried in its new, flesh-and-blood home, the virus does what it does best: spread. Ender combine lethal heaviness and contagious catchiness to craft a cunning and crushing release all in one. But one of the most effective aspects to Descolada’s resounding success is also a source of slight frustration—the EP’s length. While Descolada’s four-track brevity allows it to function as an ideal vector for a virus fitting to engulf entire planets, it is still a brief experience all the same. Just as the viral, grotesque grooves and punchy, pummeling percussion begin to resonate with the listener and create a cohesive cocoon of sound and energy, it seems to just be…taken away. However, Descolada is fierce—a scourge—and it does what scourges, parasites and viruses do best; infects, kills, and moves on, refusing to be held down by conventional expectations for run-time length, just as it refuses to be submit to the listener’s cries and pleas for compassion and mercy.
At the end of the day, Ender leave the world scarred and barren—as Descolada strips every ounce of life from the planet’s surface and drain every drop of love from the listener’s body, leaving desiccated, dried and brutalized remains. The best—and worst—part? It happens in the blink of an eye, leaving precious little time for the listener to prepare themselves and even less time to run for cover once Ender’s assault begins.
For Fans Of: (Circa 2006-08) Emmure, Towers, Endless
By: Connor Welsh