Gradual Decay Of Conscience
posted on 6/2010 By:
The debut album by Chile’s Perpetuum, Gradual Decay of Conscience delivers a diverse and technical blend of black and death metal, and it’s the kind of original and tasteful sound that I’d like to see explored a lot more in today’s underground. The band manages to capture the essence of classic bands while taking the sound in their own direction, and even more importantly don’t feel the need to exploit the "old-school” aesthetic to compensate for mediocre material.
Structurally speaking, Perpetuum’s music feels bleak and chaotic, with speedy and complex drumming supporting a balanced mix of morbid death riffing and blackened melody. The band seamlessly contrasts the bizarre, dismal sound of Gorguts with the sad tremolo-driven style of any of the classic Norwegian black metal bands, while adding their own air of strange atmosphere and a subtle tint of uplifting melody buried beneath the bedlam. The vocals may be a sticking point for some; they seem to protrude out a bit from the mix production-wise, and some of the tones feel confusingly hardcore/slam-influenced, a strange misstep from the band’s grim and malevolent sound.
But aside from some average vocals, Perpetuum’s approach here is dark and rewarding, and it effectively stands out from the hordes of other bands currently pursuing a “back-to-the-roots” mentality without crossing into cutting-edge, overly glossy territory. “Monoliths” merges walls of grim riffs with an angular, Obscura-sounding rhythmic tyrade, an early example of the band’s ability to balance atmosphere with extremity. “Into The Deepest Darkness” introduces an experimental edge with a brief jazzy break before launching into a deft assortment of tremolo figures that really do bring to mind Gorguts covering early Darkthrone songs. The more traditional intro to “Scourging The Foe” isn’t as gripping, but things pick up when the band breaks into a sequence of lengthy passages of intense, almost Dissection-esque epic melody. “Grunts of The Shoggoths” counters this nicely with a deathier feel peppered with strange background harmonic flourishes before the tranquil instrumental“Psicosis” closes things.
Basically, when I see people talk about “blackened death metal,” Gradual Decay of Conscience is the kind of album I want to hear. Perpetuum integrates these two very well-traversed styles by capturing the distinct and compatible qualities of both while confidently avoiding a cut-and-paste feel. While not quite a masterpiece, this debut is still one of the most promising I’ve heard this year and has me very interested to see where these guys go next.
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