DECAYING - One to Conquer (HELLTHRASHER Productions - CD 2014)
When looking at the whole Hellthrasher Productions roster then I can say that Decaying definitely belongs to my three favourite bands from it (along with Intestinal and Ectovoid). I was truly into all three albums, which those Fins have released so far, with “The Last Days of War” being my undisputable and most preferred choice. What a damn good album it is! Decaying is not offering anything new and unknown to the genre, but solid and damn worthy their music is, enough to crush the bones of every listener. So, I was obviously looking with excitement at all the news coming about the new album from the Finnish death squadron. At first, they released a digital EP, but honestly I never even bothered to check it out… and finally “One to Conquer” has been released last week!
Decaying can easily be placed in the same box, where you can already find bands such as Hail of Bullets and Bolt Thrower, which are all war based, conceptual bands. Their earlier works were mainly dealing with both world wars (“Encirclement” was more about the first of the great wars, “The Last Days of War” more about the second one, events which happened in Europe and Pacific… although it also has a song called “Passchendaele” hehe). Now we have “One to Conquer”, which continues with this war concept, but surprisingly is about Korean and Vietnam wars and even about the Cold War, so something more unusual for metal (but not uncommon, if you remember Sodom or Jungle Rot).
And mentioning Hail of Bullets and Bolt Thrower is not accidental also when we speak about the music of Decaying. Especially the first of these two must have a constant influence of these Finns. It is just similar sort of epic death metal, based on the slower tempos, mournful harmonies, monumental atmosphere, but also filled with a great aggression. It is inevitable that the names of Asphyx and Hail of Bullets will appear in every review then. “One to Conquer”, just like the previous Decaying albums, have a strong similarity, when you think of the song structures, overall atmosphere, some massive, slow riffs, melancholic melodies, which are so often present in basically every song on the album and finally there are some vocals of Matias Nastolin, which sound totally like he was Martin van Drunen’s younger brother if not Martin himself hehe. But please, don’t take that obvious comparison in negative way, because Decaying has a lot to offer in this musical style, more so, there are some songs, which I think are even better than Hail of Bullets’ stuff and finally these guys are simply good at what they do. And they’ve been doing this style ever since the early days of the band (which maybe wasn’t so long ago, as Decaying was formed in 2000, but since then they already released an impressive number of CDs!). and “One to Conquer” is absolutely killer album. It has everything what fans of epic death metal love and I think Decaying is on the right path, continuing what they perfected on the previous album. “One to Conquer” is just as good as “The Last Days of War”, which surely is a great news for fans of the previous CD.
What I especially like about “One to Conquer” is for example how all these songs are so damn memorable. They really stick in your head, have many great characteristic patterns, absolutely killer melodies, which lead the song into that monumental, heroic mood. The whole performance, along with the production value, is close to perfection and I can’t think of much to complain here. But if I was going to point out anything what maybe bothers me about “One to Conquer” then I guess it would the fact that the whole album has been played in basically the same, rather slow, tempo. It doesn’t make the music boring, but surely it becomes slightly monotonous after a while. Of course Decaying plays some great memorable riffs, some good melodies, etc, so they do everything to keep the listener interested, but that sign of monotony does appear in few moments anyway. Interesting is that the better I got to know the album, then the less monotonous it seemed to me, which is good I think. You simply must listen to it carefully. But hey, this is epic death metal, so I suppose that fast death metal would simply not fit to the whole concept or atmosphere of the record, right? All in all I have actually been listening to this album a lot in the past week and still can’t stop, really, it is just a very good death metal record, which maybe won’t be groundbreaking for the whole genre, but certainly is solid and great enough to be enjoyed and collected.
Standout tracks: “Zero Hour”, “One to Conquer”, “The Balance of Power”
Final rate: 85/100