Decadence – “3rd Stage of Decay” (European Version) (2008)

Label: HTI Records/Massacre Records

Review by Lithium

Well, it’s about damn time this band got a decent label behind them. Swedish band Decadence, founded in Stockholm in 2003 by female vocalist / band manager Kitty Saric (a.k.a. Metallic Kitty) have already released three full-length albums and one demo and are currently in the process of recording their fourth full-length. While recording is underway, their new label – the German metal purveyors Massacre Records- have wisely decided to re-release their 2006 album “3rd Stage Of Decay”, giving the group a much wider distribution than they had previously enjoyed. And I for one am thrilled because – to voice my professionally unprofessional opinion – Decadence kicks ass. Now when you take a quick glance at a photo of the group – angry-looking musicians, long-haired blond female vocalist with a skull-shaped ring and an ‘I’m going to rip your face off and eat it when you aren’t expecting it’ expression – and associate Sweden with them, one name will immediately pop into your head: Arch Enemy. If you go in expecting a clone of Angela and the Amotts, though, you’re in for a surprise. Oh, yes, there are nods to AE here and there, particularly in the distinctive Swedish-metal melodic breaks, but rather than melodic death metal, Decadence focuses on what they like to call melodic thrash. From the first few seconds of opening cut “Corrosion”, the band’s influences are clearly on display – razor-sharp hook-laden thrash riffage blended with some technical harmony passages, furious drumming, and snarling, spitting, just plain vicious vocals from Metallic Kitty instantly call to mind any number of the masters of the style, but most prominently two of the titans of German thrash – the mighty Kreator and, to a lesser extent, Destruction. There are nods to the Bay Area bands and a few references to groups like Death and Vader but the German thrash influence, to my ears anyway, sounds much stronger. Decadence also reminds me a great deal of another unheralded yet exceptional Kreator-inspired thrash group, the Japanese buzzsaw known as King’s Evil. Production is sharp and clear- guitars, vocals, even bass all sound well-defined. Perhaps in a couple places the kick drums sound a bit too obviously triggered, but for the most part, it avoids most of the pitfalls of modern over-production. Equally good when blazing along at full throttle like on the explosive “Claustrophobia” and when slowing down to a more melodic yet still hammeringly-heavy crunch like on the title track or personal brutal favorite “Settle the Score”, the album doesn’t have a single weak point. Just make sure your neck is in fairly good shape before listening because you’re bound to give yourself a case of whiplash. At just under 35 minutes total, the album doesn’t wear out its welcome, either, providing just enough of a dose of angry energy to keep you hooked without hanging around long enough to make the experience seem exhausting. Interestingly enough, Metallic Kitty‘s vocals add nicely to the ‘not just more of the same’ factor, for in the field of thrash where all too often the vocals tend to be montonous, she manages to infuse plenty of variety into her style, ranging from a Schmier-like higher-pitch howl on the brilliant “Temple of the Absurd” to a Mille Petrozza-esque snarl to a few gutteral deathgrowls, but always keeping plenty of evocative fury in the delivery. No, obviously, Decadence isn’t a band for everybody, but if you like classic thrash with an injection of Swedish melody, you absolutely cannot go wrong with “3rd Stage Of Decay”. If you weren’t able to find it when it first came around in 2006, you’ve got a second chance thanks to Massacre now…don’t waste it!

Rating – 85/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Corrosion
  2. Claustrophobia
  3. 3rd Stage of Decay
  4. The Theatre of Absurd
  5. Settle the Score
  6. Sculpture
  7. Invert
  8. Endgame

 

Line Up

  • Kitty Saric – Extreme Vocals
  • Kenneth Lantz – Guitar
  • Joakim Antman – Bass 
  • Erik Röjås – Drums  

 

Links

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