Decadence - Prophecies of Cosmic Chaos
~reviewed by Joel Steudler
Centinex's Decadence - Prophecies of Cosmic Chaos is really, really good Swedish melodic death metal. Hmm... yep, that covers it. Not much more to say, really. I guess I should elaborate a bit, though, since it's my job to fill up this otherwise empty space with words. Centinex takes all the genre conventions and plays them to the hilt, exemplifying every positive virtue that melodic death metal has to offer. Great catchy riffs, deft technical guitar displays, monstrous vocals- they're all present and accounted for.
The thing that sets Centinex apart from bands that suck is that Centinex knows how to write songs. I mean, sure, anyone can write a song... take a chorus, add some verses, make a fill or two, maybe toss in a guitar solo... but there aren't nearly enough bands who master the art of making -interesting- songs. The songs on 'Decadence...' twist, turn, skitter, and writhe around. Varied pacing, intricate leads, and brutal rhythm riffs make for a lively, gripping album and ensure that things don't stay in one spot very long. Centinex proves that it is possible to execute a tried and true (some might say tired and cliched) formula and make a very entertaining album from it. Don't try that at home, though... formulaic metal is dangerous -and worse: boring!- in untrained hands.
If you don't have a grip on what Decadence... sounds like yet, I'll make some comparisons to the sound of other bands. A novel approach, I know, but one that has proven to be useful on the rare occasion I employ it. If you've ever heard any At The Gates, and you probably have if you've listened to any Swedish melodic death metal, then you already have a good idea of what to expect from Centinex. Some of the guitar lines to hearken back to 'Heartwork' era Carcass, in a thrashy sort of way, which is about as far from the core melodic deathmetal tenet as this album gets. In other words, expect to hear pretty much the same stuff you've grown accustomed to from the genre, pleasingly well produced and expertly played by people who clearly know what they're doing.
I wish I had more to say about Decadence..., more lavish praise full of erudite prose and flowery adjectives to extol its virtues. I don't. It's a very good example of by-the-numbers Swedish melodic death metal. I haven't listened to enough of that particular genre to be burned out on it, and thus found the album delightfully fulfilling. If you've heard so much SMDM (damn, should have acronymized that phrase way earlier in the review) that every time you cough, Arch Enemy lyrics come out... you may find Centinex's act less compelling. I think the majority of listeners, though, will appreciate the expert instrumental skills, sharp songwriting, and hooky riffs that make Decadence... a sinfully sweet sonic treat.
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