REVIEW: Fail to Decay – Fail to Decay [EP/2016]


Artist: Fail to Decay 

Album: Fail to Decay – EP


We live in a world where it seems like everything happens with the common purpose to wear us out. We are constantly subject to desiccants and toxins, abrasive weather and harsh words, all trying their damnedest to wash away our resolve and reduce us to rubble. This is true of our existence, but these days, it seems especially true of the music we make. It’s impossible to put anything in the public’s eye without at least one (and it’s never just one) naysayer. Because of this, some bands never even get off the ground and the ones that do can struggle to stay afloat—but not Fail to Decay. As their name might imply, this band is here to stay—crafted from a rock-hard firmament of groovy, harsh metalcore and refined with atmosphere and technicality, Fail to Decay’s latest release sees the band building upon their previous releases, adding energy and aggression with equal parts clever, creative song structure to make a short-but-sweet listen that will become a staple for many fans of heavy music.

From the subtle onset of “Kill the Colony,” through the last eerie echoes of “Mother Mary,” Fail to Decay craft a relentless obelisk of oppressive metalcore that refuses to succumb to any pressure. While their previous release, The Black Book, was a solid release, it was still a touch sloppy and unrefined—showcasing potential more than tangible greatness. Here, Fail to Decay have taken that potential and cashed it in, giving the listener four tracks of pure fury. From the get-go, Jacob Carlson drums circles around many of the group’s peers. Leading the charge with bouncy, bold patterns that leave plenty of room for grooves, riffs and sludgy chugs. “Two Faces” sees Carlson incorporating dancy rhythms and two-steps into his repertoire of tactics—just as “Kill the Colony” is a more earnestly aggressive and straightforward track, wherein Carlson works with bassist James Benson to create low, lurid grooves that wash over the listener’s ears like a river of filth. Carlson and Benson work together, with Benson providing a full, thick low end to make Fail to Decay’s self-Titled release flow smoothly yet still pack plenty of punch. All the while, guitarist Daren Menz is wreaking all manners of pure havoc on the listener’s ears. Every track sees Menz adding tasteful bits of shred and skillful riffsmithing into a backbone of brutalizing chugs and visceral, chunky grooves. “Kill the Colony” sees a sparse inclusion of crystalline, clean leads—while “Mother Mary” is a dark and depressive adventure into a dissonant maelstrom. Menz lends variety and diversity to a solid foundation of bass and percussion, all while staying tight and focused—making Fail to Decay’s latest release truly lethal.

With a tight-knit instrumental foundation that expertly glides between brutalizing heaviness and quick, pummeling passages, a need for diverse vocals becomes paramount. Fortunately, Fail to Decay’s Joshua Carlson is more than up to the task at hand. Every song Carlson lends his vocals to sees a full display of his impressive range. While he may not be a genre-defining frontman (an increasingly harder feat to achieve in a scene crowded with talent), his skills are second to very few. “Two Faced” sees him dropping from a piercing scream into a grisly, guttural bellow at the drop of a dime, just as he does during the closing, crushingly heavy sequence of “Flaws.” Carlson’s vocals play brilliantly to Menz’s masterful fretwork, never failing to miss an opportunity to slice deep trenches into the listener’s head or bludgeon them senseless with ferocious lows.

In the context of their previous releases, Fail to Decay’s latest offering is a continuation of their upward trend, as the band progress steadily with each new track. However, even regardless of context, the band have made a stellar EP that sports a smart and sinister blend of catchy, crunchy aggression. With moments of clarity and respite tucked among pockets of pure belligerence, Fail to Decay take metalcore and add both passion and power—things very much needed to keep their sound and style relevant. Rather than crafting a release that ambles haphazardly at the listener, listless as the walking dead, this furious four piece have made something intense and unforgettable—an EP that surely fails to decay.



For Fans Of: Rex, Structures, Reflections, The Sign of Four

By: Connor Welsh