Reviews : Albums : Decadence, "3rd Stage of Decay"

Decadence, "3rd Stage of Decay"

Sweden’s Decadence may currently be metal’s best kept secret. The band is a speeding thrash powerhouse with songs that are smartly penned and utterly ferocious, fronted by Kitty Saric, a red-headed firebrand who, in my mind, gives Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy a serious run for her money in all respects. On the band’s third album, aptly titled 3rd Stage of Decay, Decadence come out of the gates gunning, with “Corrosion” and don’t let up on the intensity or aggression until “Endgame” winds down eight tracks later.

Musically, the group is firmly rooted in the new school of thrash, but they weave awesome melodic riffs and great leads to make just about every track truly memorable. The pace on most of the songs is quite fast, and the band has a real knack for knowing exactly when to hit a neck-snapping groove or change the tempo and the direction of the song to keep from overusing ideas. Atop the first rate material is Kitty’s viciously rasped vocal delivery (think somewhere between Heartwork-era Jeff Walker and Rachel from The Occult) that works perfectly with the music. The formula couldn’t have been better mixed by a professional chemist.

I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to this disc in the week since I got it, but it’s definitely far and away atop my play list right now. Though every single track is a demonstration of Decadence’s mastery of their genre, some of the very best moments can be found on the incredible chorus of “Theater of the Absurd,” the amazing break-to-lead on “Settle the Score,” and the odd, technical tempo moments on “Endgame” that will really fuck with your head. “Corrosion” and “Invert” are on the disc for the pure and simple purpose destruction and speed, while “Claustrophobia” and “Sculpture” explore the band’s softer facets; melody and slower speeds, respectively. The best track on the album, however, is the title track, as it balances all of the bands best qualities without overloading the listener with too many opposing ideas.

The group photo on the insert shows Kitty donning a t-shirt that says “I’m Fucking Metal,” and after hearing 3rd Stage of Decay, there’s no way in hell I’d argue with that. Moreover, I sure hope the rest of the band have shirts with the same slogan, because the whole of Decadence is 100% metal from head toe. This disc is completely mandatory for anyone who claims they live for metal, and had it been released in 2008, it’d have been high up on my best-of-the-year list.

Standout Tracks

   3rd Stage of Decay
   Theater of the Absurd
   Endgame
   Invert

Peter Johnston