Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Decaying - The Last Days Of War 
War is here and you can feel. In the last five years or so, the band that dedicated itself the most to war-themed death metal has to be Decaying. The Finns have been barely around for three years, but they've established themselves a prolific backlog of albums through the prolific death metal culprits Hellthrasher Productions, starting from a small group of demos then steadily weaving their way to a debut, a sophomore, and now, this. Though I was ignorant of their existence until Hellthrasher helped me discover their sophomore, ''Encirclement'', a fleshy death metal addendum that broiled with a fervor for war, destruction and the contemplation of things upon the battlefield, and it was still considerably fresh for its time, ripe with the energy it borrowed from such blatant masters as Pestilence, Asphyx, or Bolt Thrower which is the band that should be credited for both making the war-themed metal thing notorious and serving the greatest influence of these young Finns. Granted, ''The Last Days Of War'' proceeds to ruminate the aesthetic preferences of the group's previous outings, with perhaps an added twist here and there and a more professional canvas of war.
Promptly after you channel into ''The Last Days Of War'', vivid recollections of Bolt Thrower and Pestilence flash into your mind. I believe it should be noted that this is the band's shortest full-length release to date, which means they've minimized the length of their songs to as low as possible as to fit their their sluggishly circulating gait. That said, in case you've never hearkened to their battle-induced aggression, Decaying are a sort of lightweight band; I mean they've certainly got a penchant for inflicting septic, thrash-oriented grooves that drive themselves into the listener like a mad Japanese banzai charge, with the bayonets starkly in tact, but compared to the myriads of acts popping out of the woodwork today - those countless Incantation clones - they're just not hitting as hard as you'd imagine. Of course, the belligerence of such tracks as ''Code Name Overlord'' are undeniable, the wretched Van Drunnen inflection howling over the feral guitar work like some desperate US marine caught in a hailstorm of German bullets. Decaying aren't necessarily bombarding away with the heaviest of artillery here, but the guitars are fluent with a carnivorous urge to splatter guts, and the vocals are surprisingly cantankerous enough to fuel sufficient aggression into music, however, the pinnacle of entertainment for me were the World War II themed lyrics; probably more exciting than all the malicious riffing combined.
So you've practically got yourself an ugly Hail Of Bullets entity here, with viler production values but still somewhat more focused than the band's previous offerings. ''Firestorm'' seems to be a direct insertion of ''The IVth Crusade''; lengthy moments of drudging, slightly unnerving death/doom, thrashy chugs entwining with downtrodden lead passages, bringing about all things desolate and doleful about war. Surely they could have done some cropping, because even despite the abridged song lengths it's quite possible to be sucked in to a wormhole of boredom, especially when the guitar tone seldom dissolves into savory volumes of mourn and ambiance, like the ones you'd usually have on typical retro death metal suspects. Listening to ''The last Days Of War'' is not really a gratifying prospect, despite the bulldozing Tiger tank this can sometimes turn out to be, and it does feel as if Decaying are a little bit out of practice or material. They've acquired a handful of more modern weaponry since their World War I themed ''Encirclement'', which was a tad better by all means, but they've also grown a bit weary. Who knows, maybe they're just plain exhausted with the war nearing an end, wouldn't you say?
Code Name Overlord
The Ardennes Offensive