Decadence – Chargepoint - 4/5
With a woman fronting them who calls herself 'metallic' kitty and band photo's of her (gorgeous) frame proudly sporting a shirt emblazoned with the word's “I'm Fucking Metal,” it seems apparent that by the time their previous effort (3rd Stage of Decay) rolled out they felt they had something to prove, and prove it they did. But three years have passed since then and finally the follow-up has fallen into my lap after the decision to release it in Japan and nowhere else – a decision I neither understand nor like, especially seeing as this is a Swedish thrash band – along with an unusual piece of merch, the metallic kitty PVC doll. Now don't get me wrong, they haven't all suddenly became wussy and start singing about how their girlfriends dumped them and that life isn't fair, but it does call into question their frame of mind during the three year absence in writing this release.
I could pick out the production, which rather amusingly was done 'professionally' this time instead of letting the guitarist do it as before, yet feels for worse as a result. The guitars, whilst always a highlight, have been pushed so far up this time that the drums often feel sterile in the back and even the vocals genuinely have to fight to be heard above the melodies; the aggression rather than coming from all angles is instead focussed on the one aspect, which whilst certainly not performed poorly leaves things feeling all too monotonous. But its not simply this one aspect that feels entirely to blame for my disappointment, the composition of the tracks themselves too feel as though they've backtracked somewhat; the vocals remain all too similar and the guitar riffs for all their aggressive glory too readily blur into one another.
Yet despite all this Decadence remain one of the strongest retro-thrash bands on the scene, always maintaining their tried and tested tentative balance between power and melody resulting in a distinctive tone that remains crisp and yet still with a razor sharp viscerality. With solos galore and a sense that no matter what the volume is set at on the stereo it's still too quiet, this may not live up to the heights of their last but its a far cry from a sour patch on their career. It may have all been done before but this one of those rare breeds that still remember how to swing the old way.
Highlights: Strength of Mind, Challenge