While Army of Elephants, Descender's 2010 debut, was no emotionally shallow affair, it would seem that sophomore release Dark Water finds the band leaving their past behind as a mere memory.

Personnel-wise, the only remnants here of past projects Doosu and The Burden Brothers seem to be the band's well-seasoned rock acumen and suddenly hyper-focused songwriting. While Army of Elephants was interesting to an extent, it lacked Dark Water's streamlined direction. Indeed, the new disc, while brief in length, shows off a significant rebirth for the still-new outfit; clocking in at only 30 minutes and eight tracks, the album wastes no time in making its point heard.

"Vial I" and "Vial II" serve as bookends to the title track, each offering roughly two minutes of foreboding, dirge-y instrumental murk that lead to what is clearly a very special piece of work to the band—one that paints quite a textured atmosphere for frontman Casey Hess's gift of dark storytelling. As a whole, the album is full of flabby drum-slaps that thud your chest, and moody, thick guitar tones that twist and writhe.

The album very much feels like a new beginning. And, considering the interesting piece of work as it is, it's one heck of a start.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Alan Ayo