Decrepit Birth - _Polarity_
(Nuclear Blast / Massacre Records, 2010)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (7 out of 10)
The increasing abundance of bands that are playing their death metal technically may be watering down its significance, but that really shouldn't be the case. Technical death metal is one of the most challenging and skill demanding kinds of music to play. Getting it right has become less of a feat now because of that abundance, but that shouldn't make it any less of a gargantuan effort, and being good at it can be considered a feat on its own; just listen to how bands like Psycroptic and Decapitated evolved. Decrepit Birth established tech-death as 'what they do' with 2008's _Diminishing Between Worlds_, and _Polarity_ is their step towards becoming good at it.

Of course you're going to have to spin _Polarity_ a few times to make sense of all the blasting, the shredding, the trilling, the solos, the growling and the all-so killer riffing. Sifting through that is a little like sinking your feet in the sand on the shores of a raging sea. The acquired stability will enable you to absorb and appreciate the music that those guys have put into this tech-death fury. Surprisingly enough, the album starts with a prelude that sounds like a tune from the Vienna State Opera in the late 1800s; "(A Departure of the Sun) Ignite the Tesla Coil" is quite the explosive album opener.

"The Resonance" starts with a rather impressive melody, but the changing patterns of the double-bass drumming may make it a bit confusing. The riffing on this piece, however, is top notch; but if I had to single out the riff champion, it would be "Mirroring Dimensions". But if it's sweeps you're looking for, then look no further than "Polarity". It's built on a strong discipline of dizzying guitar sweeps and soaring melodies. Despite seeing only two guitarists in the credits, one can definitely hear three guitars on many occasions; the Cynic-like "Solar Impulse" and the instrumental "Sea of Memories" come to mind. This clarity of sound and crisp production is the work of the prolific producer Zack Ohren. Guitar solos on _Polarity_ are as abundant as fjords are in Norway, yet they don't cross the 'guitar wankery' threshold.

You wouldn't stumble upon that awe inspiring Gavin Harrison-esque drum break or that spine-chilling Steve Von Till-ish lyric line that could make you think twice, and if that's what you came looking for then let me tell you that you've made some wrong turns quite a few kilometers back. _Polarity_ is a well greased tech-death machine that stands firmly under the forty minute safety threshold. Decrepit Birth remains without compromise in terms of brutality and creative abilities with _Polarity_, and they're challenging themselves with a record like this because it raises their stakes quite a few notches. It's comforting to hear proof that Florida, the proverbial birthplace of death metal, is still a fruitful land.


(article published 4/9/2010)

8/15/2004 T DePalma 9 Decrepit Birth - ...And Time Begins
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