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Decaying: Encireclement

Decaying is an old-school Death metal band from Finland that plays with enough power to engage listeners. Encirclement, their sophomore release, is a very heavy, very strong recording. Fans of Death metal will not be disappointed with the high quality of the musicianship. I was especially impressed with the quality of the song-writing, particularly with its consistent variety of strong riffs, interesting melodies, and surprising changes in meter. The strongest track, for me, is "Rising Sun," a long work that never falls into self-indulgence or needless repetition. "Rising Sun" closes out the album in such a way that listeners will surely want to hear more from Decaying in the future.

Encirclement consistently deals with topics related to the first and second world wars. It seemed appropriate to me that a Death metal band would treat the devastations of global conflicts so directly. Death metal should engage with problems of human violence and warfare and not just indulge in image-making. Other tracks deal with problems related to contemporary media culture ("Public Enlightenment") and the controversial military conflicts of the last few years ("Artillery Barrage" and "Conclusion"). Though the music is well-written and played powerfully, I thought that these obviously topical lyrics could have benefitted from an occasionally clearer vocal delivery s that would help listeners connect more directly to them. This is not to say that the music should simply serve as a backdrop for the words; nevertheless, when a band wrestles with timely problems like international wars, a global mass media, and controversial foreign policy, they should foreground the words a little more directly. I suppose that doing so would take the band in musical directions beyond Death metal, but I did struggle to connect completely with what that band was trying to say despite the symbolic power of the singers' death growl. The vocals by Matias Nastolin are dark and deep and suit the music fairly well. At times, however, Nastolin is backed by another vocalist whose own growl is too high and frankly doesn't sound as good.

Aside from my reservations about the vocals, Encirclement is a strong demonstration of what Decaying is capable of. They are a tight band with just the right amount of interesting riffs and distorted "crunch" to excite fans of old-school Death metal. "Rising Sun" alone makes this recording worth a listen.

Track Listing:
1. Initiation
2. Operation Citadel
3. From the Cradle to the Grave
4. Artillery Barrage
5. Battle of the Somme
6. Conclusion
7. On the Path of Subjugation
8. The Hell of Verdun
9. Public Enlightenment
10. The Rising Sun

Added: December 21st 2011
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 2308
Language: english

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