[International Review] Distant – Dusk Of Anguish EP Review

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Artist: Distant
EP Name: Dusk Of Anguish
Release Date: 19 March 2020
Country: Netherlands/Slovakia
City: Rotterdam/Bratislava
Genre: Downtempo Deathcore/Blackened Deathcore
Label: Unique Leader Records

Members:
Alan Grnja – Vocals
Nouri Yetgin – Guitar
Vladimir Golic – Guitar
Eise Smit – Guitar
Elmer Maurits – Bass
Jan Mato – Drums

This year just seems to be the year that downtempo deathcore reigns supreme. First we had Swedish
juggernauts Humanity’s Las Breath drop their highly anticipated album, Välde, towards the end of
February. Then, on March 12th, up and coming UK outfit, Bound In Fear, dropped their Eternal EP upon
us. Now, not even a full week later and not giving us any time to breathe or give our ears and skulls a
break from the heaviness, Unique Leader Records have unleashed another behemoth of pure, abyssal
heaviness upon us.
This week we have Dusk Of Anguish from the boys over at Distant, which is a direct sequel that
continues the dark fantasy story of Tyrannotophia which was first introduced in their full length 2019
album of the same name and followed up on with 2020’s critically acclaimed and award winning EP,
Dawn Of Corruption.
For the most part, the EP retains a lot of elements from it’s prequel as far as soundscape and song
structure goes. However, that is not to say that this EP is just a cut, paste, and repeat of it’s older
brother. Far from it. For Dusk Of Anguish, the band actually experiment a lot more with these elements,
especially with regards to the synth elements and many others of which I shall be diving into as we
continue on with this review.
The EP starts off with the intro track, The Offering, which continues with the same dark, haunting,
sinister, and bleak atmosphere that Dawn Of Corruption had. In this track, the band create an epic build
up of mystery, suspense, and dread before jumping into a short but rather groove laiden section that
sucks the listener in almost immediately and essentially teases your ears as to what you can expect from
this record. Atmosphere and heaviness.
Things finally kick up a notch with the title track, Dusk Of Anguish, which features guest vocals from John
Robert C. of the band The Last Ten Seconds Of Life who also happen to be a downtempo deathcore
band. I must say that out of all the tracks on the EP, this one is by far my favourite because it does so
many things right that a lot of bands in this genre so often get wrong or just don’t bother doing. The first
element that stands out on this track is it’s experimentation with they synth melodies and how they
contrast with the chugging, sonic blasts of the guitars and drums during each breakdown. Especially in

the intro of the track.
Distant kick this track off by using a kind of melody that can commonly be found in most horror movie or
dark fantasy scores, particularly by choirs. This melody is often used sometimes as a jump scare in
modern horror movies or if you are into old school scores, you might recognize it when it used during
chase scenes or to hint that doom approaches.
One track that immediately sprung to mind when I heard this was the track for The Castle Of Chaythe
from the movie Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust in which the choir on that track makes it feel like the lisener
has jumped off a cliff and is falling into the fiery pits of hell with the screams of millions of other
anguished souls falling alongside you.
The only difference is that instead of choirs, it’s a weird, eldritch sounding kind of synth sample that
makes your skin crawl but in a good and immersive way and pretty much paints a vivid mental picture of
the world of Tyrannotophia. The track continues to play around with this weird synth sample throughout
the track, almost having it play the role of a classical string instrument like a violin to create a feeling of
chaos and violence at the heart of the song. Other cool elements that stand out in this track is the more
prominent use of the bass guitar which is not often utilized in most modern metal genres, especially in
deathcore. Also John Robert C. does a great job of adding a more hardcore gruff and hardcore style of
vibe during his section of the song.
The third track, The Eternal Lament, almost feels like a continuation of the track Hellmouth which also
happens to have been the third track off the Dawn Of Corruption EP. While Hellmouth was definitely a lot
more direct and catchy in it’s approach, The Eternal Lament plays around with the song structure more
while adding in little nods to Hellmouth in the drum patterns and some of the breakdowns. Also
considering the visuals of the music video for this song, it most certainly confirms that the song is being
told from the perspective of the same protagonist that the band’s vocalist, Alan Grnja, played in the
Hellmouth music video. What really stood out about this track in contrast to Hellmouth was the way in
which the song built up to the final breakdown. It is not often that a person who is used to long pauses
before a breakdown drops actually gets surprised by it and Distant managed to make me jump out of my
skin the first time I heard it.

Watch the music video below

We then come to the fourth track, Cryogenesis, which features a guest vocal appearance by Lochie
Keogh of Alpha Wolf which is surprising considering just how different Alpha Wolf’s style of music is to
Distant’s. Like with the previous guest feature track, this song likes to experiment more with the formula
the band have established for themselves and I have to say it’s the first time, that even after multiple
listens, I still cannot establish the direction the song will take as it’s just such a fascinating listen. For
starters, the song beings with a strange soundscape that is very reminiscent of the kind of stuff
Humanity’s Last Breath would do only minus the thall djent elements. The song then begins to
incorporate more riffs and less breakdowns for the first quarter and by the time the first breakdown
comes in, not only are we greeted by a spectacular performance by Lochie, but we are also hit with more
of those same chaotic synths that Dusk Of Anguish had which gives the song a more eldritch and
horrifying vibe to it. Cryogenesis continues to do this with an orchestral styled build up before slamming
us right back in the heaviness and more chugging breakdowns that Distant are brilliant at. What I also
loved about this song is how, just like with Dusk Of Anguish, Alan uses a kind of narration style of
speaking similar to that of Seregor, the vocalist of symphonic black metal band Carach Angren, who also
hail from the Netherlands, which really sells you on the fact that you are not only being told a story
through instruments, but, vocally as well.
Graveborn, the fourth track on the EP, is short, but, what I love about it is that it is the only track on the
album that is mostly riffs and very little breakdowns which serves as a nice breather and really switches
things up a bit and keeps the record from being reptitive and boring. Graveborn contains a more
traditional synth based atmosphere in comparison to the other tracks and the riffs contain the speedy
and technical proficiency of a band like Fleshgod Apocalypse mixed with the chaotic and more melodic
elements of Emperor while not sacrificing the heavy element of their downtempo deathcore sound. When
the breakdowns do hit, they are a more mid tempo than downtempo in places and some of the cool
guitar harmonics really add to the alien atmosphere of the song.
The EP concludes the story with Ravka, a track that starts off with more soft and subdued guitar rythms,
gently leading you in before suddenly decimating you with an epic intro that leads right into a black metal
inspired section that really compliments the style of synth samples the band picked for this song really
well. After that, the song continues on with a series of well placed breakdowns and nice little ambient
section where Alan’s high screams have this really awesome vocal effect going on them that makes it
sound like a freezing Arctic wind has just blown through freezing everything, including your soul in it’s

path before the track ends with a fade out.
Distant is a band that has gone from strength to strength with each release and they only continue to get
better. One might not think it, especially considering that as far as their overall sound is concerned, but
Dusk Of Anguish is most certainly not a cut and paste of Dawn Of Corruption. Distant have shown that
they have a vision and a direction for their music and it is only something one would pick up on when
they are really paying attention while listening. The band not only want to create a very specific
atmosphere, but, they also want to showcase that heavy music, especially within a genre like deathcore,
can be more than just moshing music. Dusk Of Anguish is a pure work of art. It manages to encapsulate
everything metalheads love about the genre in a fresh, new, and exciting package. The greatest
strengths of this EP is definitely the synths, the songwriting, the drumming, and the vocals. Alan Grnja
has a very unique vocal style. His high screams, while definitely black metal inspired, have an instantly
recognizable tone to them and his growls, while low, definitely have a sound and tone of their own that
would instantly make him stand out if featured in a song by any other band.
Jan Mato is very versatile on the drums and showcases he can switch between slow and groove based
parts to fast and intense speed based moments.
The guitarists also shine on this EP, but, since I don’t play guitar, I cannot really judge them on their
playing style. However, I don’t know how they chose the guitar tone that they have, but, it’s safe to say
that no other band in the downtempo deathcore scene has the sound of Distant and that really sets them
apart as they aren’t trying to imitate the bands that came before them or their peers.
The synths and orchestrations were done by Jack Higgs and as you can tell from the review, I adored his
contributions to this record and I hope the band will continue to work with him going forward.
With all that being said and done, Distant did not win only win a music award and get ranked alongside
other metal titans from the Netherlands like Within Temptation, Epica, and Carach Angren for no reason.
Distant are the future of not just modern metal and deathcore, but, the next generation of metal legends
and I wish them nothing but the best for them as they continue with their careers. Go and listen to Dusk
Of Anguish, now!

Follow Distant:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DistantOfficial/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/distantnl
Website: https://distantofficial.com/home
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/DistantOfficial/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/DistantBandNL
Bandcamp: https://distantofficial.bandcamp.com/
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7dfpBi0QvO9FmlhBK6XHwJ?
si=gfU1Q4a2TJKiVIpsQNEl7w&nd=1

 

Rating: 9/10
Reviewed By: Russell Gainsford
Inspired by: Black Tongue, Humanity’s Last Breath, Filth, Bound In Fear.