It seems that we’ve been having a bit of an uprising recently of bands playing old school death metal…or…at least they’re TRYING to do that. Most of the bands that I’ve heard that claim to play “old school death metal” aren’t that good. In fact, some of them are pretty shitty. Decay is, by far, one of the much better ones out there. After receiving several demos and EPs, as well as taking a look into the flow of demos that have been circulating around the interwebs, I’ve come to find several bands that don’t CLAIM to play old school death metal as much as they do actually playing it. One of the first bands that I enjoyed hearing was Lago, a band whose EP I received through Spirit of Metal that I really enjoyed both listening to and reviewing. Decay is a band that takes on less of a deeper sound and more of a raw approach on death metal’s roots.
I give major kudos to the band and/or whoever produced this 6-song EP for making actually sound like a vintage death metal record straight from the mid-90s, but that’s not where the best of it is. The best part is the actual music itself. One of my favorite things about a lot of the older death metal bands is how much fucking groove and catchiness they have in their music. Whenever it comes to these bands that are trying to revive the original sound of their style of music, whether it be thrash metal, death metal, or black metal, the question ALWAYS is are they still being original with the music they’re writing? That’s the primary questions I’m going to be asking while analyzing this 6-piece slab of death metal.
Because of the lack of damn info on this band, I don’t know what bands THEY claim to take the most influence from. But I can tell you this, the vocals sound like something from one of Possessed’s albums or Death’s Scream Bloody Gore. I’m not really a HUGE fan of this vocal style due to its premature sound, but when it’s put in the right context, like this album, everything works out. Because of the unfortunate and slim possibility that you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m talking about those growls that are more mid-ranged, not super powerful ones that have a raspy sound; sort of like the early Bolt Thrower records. Similar to many of the early death metal shit out there from the 80s and 90s, none of the musicians in Decay have any excessive skills or notable talents. The guitar solos that take place during the second half of every song have a classic thrash metal sound to remind the old farts of the Altars of Madness and Slowly we Rot days.
The guitars have a raw, crunchy distortion that can only be achieved through lack of production. The drums and vocals have noticeably more reverb than the rest of the band (I don’t know why the hell all of the old death metal albums sound like that), and the bass, well, kind of lays hand-in-hand with the guitar. UNLIKE a lot of the early death metal records, Decay is extremely tight and makes sure to tie any loose ends before recording. The drummer doesn’t screw up, the guitarists seamlessly harmonize with the bassist without fault, and the bassist reminds me of the bass work done on Death’s Human and Leprosy albums.
All of the tracks on this EP are something to be said about, but none of them spoke out to me in the same way that Armies of the Dead did. The very moment that those extremely gritty guitars came in on full attack, I knew that this was going to be the best song off the record. The drum patterns on this track are pretty much what can be found on almost every early Death, Bolt Thrower, Possessed, Asphyx, and Grave album. But then again, the Decay drummer manages to still keep everything he does as original as possible by throwing in his own twists and fills. Since this is an EP, my review on it is going to be considerably shorter than my review on a full-length because…well…there’s less material for me to talk about. If you can find this rare EP, do not hesitate to get your hands on it because it’s a death metal treat like no other. I would give Decay’s self-titled EP 15/20.