Decrepit Birth

Polarity

Written by: EW on 25/09/2010 10:04:31

Having giant shoes to fill is never easy in any walk of life and so it has seemed in the case of attempting the fill the massive void left by the departure of Chuck Schuldiner, which has fallen much into the hands of Decrepit Birth as anyone else in recent years, largely thanks to their stirling 2008 effort "Diminishing Between Worlds", praised to the high heavens by my colleague here. Obviously noone can totally make up for the untimely passing of the Death legend (he was a Metal God after all) but the technical flourishes found so prodigiously across "Diminishing..." and "Polarity" indicate this band of Californians are intent on furthering his legacy established on classics "Human" and "Symbolic".

Not so much as borrowing but blasting through the Death copybook "(A Departure Of The Sun) Ignite The Tesla Coil" starts gently enough before the triggered blast-orama that will occupy the next 38 minutes of your life kicks into action. A relentless barrage of tightly performed riffs, expertly interwoven together into what seems like senseless abandon at times, ferociously triggered drums annihilated to the high heavens and the gruff vocal work of Bill Robinson; an accurate description of "Resonance", "Polarity" and that which is most akin to Death on steroids, "Mirroring Dimensions". Ferocity well established, it is the sense of melody situated amongst all the super-polished hyper-technicality that sets Decrepit Birth above the likes of fellow serial blasters Hate Eternal and Origin in my opinion, lead guitarist Matt Sotelo clearly an ADD sufferer as he plants catchy tweaks at virtually every turn of his fingers. However not until after the completion of semi-interlude "A Brief Odyssey In Time" does "Polarity" begin to round some of the corners that defined "Diminishing..."'s devastating listenability as "Sea of Memories" and "Darkness Embrace" focus more on the feelings being laid out by Sotelo at the expense of the speed captured in the first half.

And herein lies part of the problem. Decrepit Birth are better than Hate Eternal but in comparison to Death, still a grand distance short. Drum speeds surely topping 200bpm may well be impressive at first glance and a target worthy of attainment for many skin-bashers but as has been proven by Schuldiner and co, not necessary to the creation of quality songs. Don't let the proficiency of all concerned here decide the songs within, on occasion feeling barely in control of their direction such is the speed it is hurtling towards it's conclusion, Decrepit Birth's radar for directing their skill into meaningful songs has gotten lost across moments of "Polarity", leaving a feeling that a lesson in instrumental virtuosity has been taught and not the lesson in death metal artistry I had been truly hoping for.

7

Download: Resonant, (A Departure Of The Sun) Ignite The Tesla Coil, Sea of Memories
For the fans of: Death, Hate Eternal, Origin, Vital Remains
Listen: Myspace

Release date 23.07.2010
Massacre Records

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