Decrepit Birth - Polarity
Nuclear Blast
Technical Death Metal
11 songs (38:39)
Release year: 2010
Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Crash
Major event

Imagine that there is a new cake that’s been available in stores for a while. You haven’t had a chance to buy one yet, but had an opportunity or two to sneak a bite every now and then from a neighbor or friend. It tastes promising and you can’t wait to get your hands on one yourself. Finally one day you have the opportunity. You go to the store, pick it out and buy it, take it home with you and there you have it: a whole cake to yourself.

Then you take a bite. It tastes as good as before!

Then you take another bite… wow… it’s really rich, almost like they used twice as much frosting as they needed to.

Another bite. By now any resemblance to cake is gone and you switch your fork into a spoon because all of the frosting has become so thick that it is turning into pudding. By now all fans of this cake know that they will hate me by the end of the review.

But that is exactly how I feel about Decrepit Birth. Over the past few years, I have had opportunities to hear random bits and songs here and there, but had never gotten my hands on a full album. I always thought they sounded pretty good. Rather than playing the typical tech death sound that is so popular today, their sound always reminded me of Death’s The Sound of Perseverance. It had that otherworldly feel and something always felt a bit odd, in a good way mind you.

But now that I have an album of a dozen or so songs, I am almost sick to my stomach from eating too much frosting. Don’t get me wrong, it’s damn good frosting. The technicality and tightness is remarkable. Every player is at the top of their game and you would be hard pressed to find many bands that can keep up.

The problem doesn’t lie in how the music is played, it’s in the music itself. After more than five minutes, the songs just blend together like the ingredients in a KFC Famous Bowl. It all sounds like mush. Nearly every moment of every song is played in the same tempo, with the same atmosphere, in the same way. It isn’t until the sixth song Solar Impulse that there is any remote sense of variety. And even then, it just happens to have a softer intro than the rest, which just start and stop without telling a story of any kind. The band seems to have no care with building any sort of tension or atmosphere. They have one trick that they are very good at it and they will spend the entire album reminding you of it.

Maybe it’s the prog fag in me. Maybe it’s that I like my albums to tell a story, not as a narrative but emotionally with rising action, climaxes, and a solid conclusion. Maybe it’s that I can’t take a relentless beating of the eardrums for an entire album.

No… wait… I can when it’s done well. I loved Origin’s Antithesis which doesn’t have a second of rest. I honestly think that the reason is that I can remember how Origin’s songs go and I can tell when they start and stop. A Brief Odyssey in Time may be the only song on the album that I can tell apart from the rest outside of the intro. It might also be that it’s only a minute long. This album is a continual solo from beginning to end and any form of pacing is thrown out of the window.

The few moments of pure instrumental music is when the album is at its best. Singer Bill Robinson brings absolutely nothing to the band. His vocals aren’t bad per se, but a few highs now and again wouldn’t hurt. But this isn’t really his fault. The band would be much better as an instrumental group. The music is already the at the forefront and any time the vocals come into view they just muddy up the sound.

Alright, I have bashed Polarity to Hell, but I am still not going to call it a complete waste of time. This simply is not the band or the album for me. I can rock out to a song or two, but like thrash bands that do nothing but thrash out or an Yngwie Malmsteen record, this is for people who know what flavor of ice cream they like and will never get sick of it. I liken it to reading a thesaurus compared to reading Mark Twain. The words might be prettier, but there is no context.

I sort of like this flavor, but I prefer a bit of subtlety with my death metal. There is nothing subtle about Decrepit Birth.

Killing Songs :
Pick any of them and it will be awesome. Make sure just not to listen to more than two in a row...
Crash quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Decrepit Birth that we have reviewed:
Decrepit Birth - Diminishing Between Worlds reviewed by James and quoted 92 / 100
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There are 21 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:06 am
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