As the seemingly endless stack of black / death metal releases mount higher and higher, it’s good to pull one from the stack that delivers on both fronts. On Decrepit Soul‘s second full length The Coming Of War!!, the mix of styles isn’t particularly slanted one way or the other, both share equal time and are equally devastating. But with the secret weapon of Marcus Hellcunt (ex-Bestial Warlust) behind the drum kit, the album takes a darker, more brooding turn than its predecessor and ends up much better as a result.
The band’s debut fell somewhere between the bludgeoning of countrymen Abominator and early Deströyer 666. But it also sounded like it was recorded in a bathroom stall. With this album however, the production is top notch and has a broader soundstage. The band can still wreck eardrums with their — obvious reference — Bestial Warlust-type onslaught but are just as comfortable and dangerous when the tempo is pulled back, akin to the ever-trusty Bolt Thrower-esque death metal jams. Never content to give the listener a full song of either, this duo mixes the two styles in such a way that the short runtime sees the finish line way too soon. It’s over in less than 30 minutes and despite the album lacking in originality, it more than makes up for it in brute force.
Letting all restraint fall by the wayside is the relentless pair “Feral Howling Winds” and “Storm of Steel”. The former relies on furious black metal picking and blast beats while the latter adds a street-punk feel in the quick one-two percussion and animalistic guitar tones. On the flip side of the coin, “Awaken” is the best example offered of just how good this band meshes their chosen styles. Blinding speed in the beginning gives way to oozing, slower tempo death metal through the middle, hitting a militaristic groove and simultaneously shows a side of the band that may come as a surprise to fans of their debut.
The strange tone of Kakorot’s vocals can be off putting at first. Sure, they are growled and garbled, much like anyone would expect from this genre but at higher octaves than most, resembling that of a rabid dog belching out his dying howls. In addition, the songwriting allows both members several opportunities to juggle the spotlight. Then of course is the anomolous album art, at first glance — and with the minimalistic color choice — it would be easy to dismiss as yet another tech death meets sci-fi cover. But upon further scrutinization it really is a fine specimen by artist Jenglot Hitam. The towering beast at the center and his heavily armed horde could just as easily rip the skin from your torso as they could topple a nation. This is one such case of artwork truly capturing the intensity found within the album.
On The Coming of War!!, Decrepit Soul have a sophomore album that decidedly surpasses their debut as well as lands them in the upper echelon of the Aussie black / death metal hierarchy. The band’s sound and delivery absolutely cannot be denied but with a little more focus on originality, the sky, or in this case, the winds of war, would be their only limit.