Thursday, April 24, 2014

Clad in darkness - Decathect

Genre : Post-black metal
Release : December 14th 2013.

First of all, I'd like to personally thank John, one of the guitarists, for giving me a physical copy of this release. That single fact was enough for me to give some of my spare time to review Decathect. However, his kindness is not the single reason which led me to this article, as the album in question is for sure among the ones you should check if you haven't already. Let's dig a bit more what is for sure a consistent and well-thought concept album.

Yeah, although not obvious, Decathect is a concept album, based upon novel Ethan Frome from american writer Edith Wharton. As usual in such cases, I try to dig the related works together. I'm not here to review the novel, but the album successfully reminds of Ethan Frome's melancholy, indeed. Playing black metal with strong post-rock influences, Clad in darkness adds a strong emotional charge to their music. Be it through their vocals, perfectly arranged throughout the seven tracks, even though they sometimes feel like they could have been more heart-breaking and passionate. Not to say they're bad, they're actually great, and not a major part of the record anyway, as most of it is instrumental in the end. To my ears, both the real strengths of Decathect are drums and non-metal parts. Drums? I'm not sure why, but they're really catchy and intense here. Probably thanks to a very clear production and to clever songwriting, they shine all along the album and bear no monotony, as heard when they kick-in on 'Unrest'. Non-metal parts? It'd be a bit wrong to call them "acoustic", as guitars draw many influences from other scenes, my personal favorite parts being the Dire Straits-like riffs from 1:30 on 'Revelries & silence' or the intense, aerial, poetic post-rockish guitars on 'Unrest', again. Those influences are surely not the only ones : obvious progressive, blues, jazzy parts help building a delicate and versatile record.

If Decathect needed a special tag outside of the usual ones, I'd definitely call this "poetic black metal', as the overall atmosphere, helped by the many slow-tempo interludes, is definitely what you can call poetic. And when black metal kicks in, the coherence created between melancholy and rage is stunning. Clad in darkness surely shines in their songwriting, and with clever chilling moments not using the usual folkish patterns still not using lots of black metal either, they created a rare and successful recipe with Decathect.

Personal highlights : Revelries & silence, Unrest.
Links : Facebook, Bandcamp, Bigcartel.

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