There are times when you hear something that has potential to be great, but falls short of the mark. Like Neo missing that first jump, or the Death Star architect forgetting about that exhaust port. You hear something that just about brushes with greatness and then sort of falls over stubs its toe. My advice to doomy blackmetallers Decline of the I would be to pick themselves up, put on a Band-Aid, and try again.
The album kicks off with “Lower Degree of God’s Might” , throwing us off the scent with a post-hardcore inspired intro soon giving way to what is a rather lacklustre collection of riffs, with drums unfortunately hidden in the mix to point of obscurity in some cases. Like a lot of modern day black metal, Decline of the I have tried to recreate the production values of their 90s predecessors. While this can be taken as homage to the past, the commonly forgotten point was that most of these proto bands did it out of a shed with a shoestring budget because that’s all they had. Technology has all but eliminated this need, allowing production values to increase tenfold. This messy and quiet production is one of modern black and death metal’s biggest problems, in this reviewer’s humble opinion.
The album moves onto “Hexenface” , with a real Gojira vibe that affords the band an opportunity to get their groove on. The guitar tone and easy-does-it percussion styles are about as appropriate as you can get for the doom-laden groove of this track. The background synths and vocals are reminiscent of The Faceless’ “Autotheism”. They peak a trough in the right places and add an interesting and much-needed flavour. With a lack of hooks and a weird Marilyn Manson vocal ending, however, it falls short.
“Le Rouge”, “Deus Sive Mausica” and “On Est Bien Pue De Chose” again had no real hooks, sticking to a samey formula that will leave listeners cold. And it’s a real shame that the tracks overall are unnecessarily long, seeming almost arbitrary in places. The echo effect on the otherwise guttural vocals make them messy and unrecognisable. “Le Rouge” in particular feels rushed, out of time and upsettingly subpar.
“The End Of Prostration” is a nice break from the album’s norm. It’s bigger than Liam Neeson’s cock and twice as imposing. This track also holds the best vocal performance on the entire album, raw and menacing. This gives way to “Pieces Of A Drowned Man”, which shows that you can have too much of a good thing, as the synths are overused to Cradle of Filth levels. It reinforces the notion that Decline of the I had some great ideas, but rushed them to the point of a poor execution.
Overall, the impression given to me is that live Decline of the I are probably tighter than a nun’s nether regions. There are excellent examples of musicianship and craft here, but I would suggest the guys don’t use this release as their calling card.
Led by a man known as AK, Decline of the I are a a super group consisting of members of Merrimack, Anus Mundi, Temple Of Baal, Eidon and Drowning . The album is available in digipack, CD and very fucking cool red and black coloured vinyl. You can get it here via Agonia Records. The artwork also consists of a dormouse, who looks paranoid, so that’s good.
1.Lower degree of God’s might
3.Le rouge, le vide et le tordu
4.The end of prostration
5.Pieces of a drowned motion
6.Deus Sive Musica
7.On est bien peu de chose
Decline of the I is:
A.K. (Vorkreist, Merrimack, Malhkebre, Neo Inferno 262)
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