Album: Decayer – EP
There are a practically infinite number of ways human life can be brought to an end. It can be quick—a pointed, prominent and perfunctory cessation of consciousness from which there is no return or recover. Your heart can just…stop; your organs can give out to disease or trauma. It might be organic or inflicted, but the point remains the same: it can be quick.
But sometimes, you’re left to rot and waste away. No easy way out. No flash of light followed by pearly gates. You just…Decay. And Arizona-based unstoppably aggressive deathcore outfit Decayer are evidence of just how fatal that can be. With their debut self-titled release, Decayer capture the putridity and punishment surrounding a slow and ceaseless erosion of the body and soul with a cavalcade of bone-grinding breakdowns, skin-flaying blast beats and riffs as infernally hot as the desert from which they hail. Taking elements from traditional and contemporary deathcore and death metal both, Decayer are a devastating act which might actually make you pray for a slow and languishing end.
Decayer are a refreshing reminder of just how great raw, ruthless deathcore can be. They certainly don’t reinvent the wheel where heavy music in concerned, opting not to try and fix what isn’t broken, but rather, see just how heavy they can make it before it snaps under intolerable strain. Percussionist Taylor Bayless can be found at the band’s core, working with bassist Keith Huffman to infuse speedy and sinister passages with equal parts bounce and groove to create catchy breaks and memorable moments between segments of skull-busting brutality. This is as true on the EP’s brief but brutish introduction as it is on songs like “Dog-Whistle” and “Hate Chancellor.” “Dog-Whistle” especially sees Huffman adding clever and ear-catching bits of thick footwork between grisly chugs from guitarists David Scordato and James Trivitt. Meanwhile, “Death Tolerance” sees the duo—Scordato and Trivitt—using a time-tested contrast between an eerie, ominous lead and bounce-infused breakdown to keep the listener’s ears firmly anchored in Decayer’s dynamic, but their head bobbing swiftly. “Hate Chancellor,” as well as “Blasphemers” sees the group using quick, pointed riffs atop lacerating blast beats—as does a brief but tactically placed middle minute to “Dog-Whistle.” Here, Huffman’s hefty kick drum and sharp snare dominate, while Scordato and Trivitt bring tedious fretwork into the mix. While, again, the band might not reinvent a genre, they certainly rejuvenate deathcore as the genre’s early fans remember it fondly, adding a modern and merciless bounce to it that is second-to-none.
In keeping with the clear influence drawn from yesteryear’s greats, Decayer’s vocal element is multifaceted, coming from the throats of Harrison Burkardt and Sean Labrucherie both. Butkardt and Labrucherie, together, cover just about every style short of slam-tinted squeals the listener could want. With “Hate Chancellor” showing off a dialectic and conversational oscillation between low grisly bellows and shrill screams and “Dog-Whistle” a dynamic blend of mid-range yells and merciless murky guttural groans, there is no real sense that any listener could truly be left in want when it comes to Decayer’s dynamic vocal duo. Where there are sure to be elitist statements of “why use two vocalists where one could be sufficient,” the answer is found in the inventive use of variegated patterns and candors used by each vocalist, adding hidden gems of variety where only attentive listeners will find it.
Catchy, crushing, powerful and punishing, Decayer are a deadly group bound to erode ear drums and eviscerate innards without remorse or relent. With politically driven lyrics defining anthems like “Attainment Ladder” and more existentially-oriented portions of prose giving shape to “Dog-Whistle,” Decayer’s lyrics are—again—not necessarily the work of a Pulitzer-prize winning poet, but solid and sturdy sentences that reinforce the hefty and hellish intensity prevalent in the band’s vocal stylings and instrumental aspects both. With sections slower than creeping death and others as sinister as a .45 shell roaring towards your head, Decayer’s debut is a solid and lovable example of grisly, gory, good-ol-fashioned deathcore.
For Fans Of: Invoker, We Are the End, Oceano, Bodysnatcher
By: Connor Welsh