DECREPID: Endless Sea Of Graves
Release year: 2020
Label: Xtreem Music
According to the bio that came with the promo, UK death metal outift Decrepid are “among the small band of groups around the world who decided to take a stand against the sterile and overly-technical direction the genre was heading in at the end of the last decade.” Well, considering there’s no shortage of quality death metal these days, I guess we can say – job well done?
Okay, snide remarks aside, it is undeniably true that old school death metal has seen a resurgence during the past decade, giving a far greater breadth to the term “old school death metal” than before. Where once people seemed to primarily think of acts digging up the sound of old US acts, nowadays “old school death metal” encompasses anything from pioneering US artists to iconic Swedish acts to old murk from Finland, to rotting death/doom, and beyond. Which is, of course, a great improvement in and of itself.
Which brings us back to Decrepid quite conventiently: on their third album, the UK quartet offer up six tracks and just short of 40 minutes of unapologetically old school death metal. Endless Sea Of Graves liberally unearths rotting corpses from several strands of the genre, combining crushing death/doom with tinges of the Finnish masters of old and plenty of elements from classic, brutal US death metal. It’s a musical concept with nice variation, and a lot of the time Decrepid make the most out of it.
In a nutshell, think of something like C-G era Morbid Angel paired with old Convulse, and you might not be too far off from what Decrepid sounds like. Tempos mainly ranging from faster to slower mid-tempo, thick and heavy riffage which range from boneheadedly primitive to slightly more intricate, and insane leads which wouldn’t sound out of place on a vintage Morbid Angel album. The vocals consist of deep, cavernous growls and higher-pitched shrieks which do not quite reach pig-squeal levels.
At first, the sound of the album threw me off for a bit. My main gripe with it is that the drums are somewhat dull, flat and a bit too low in the mix – but after a while, that is the only grievance worth airing. The sound has a fair bit of murk and sludge to it, which is only fitting for a band with the musical approach of Decrepid. Especially the guitars still have enough room, so that there’s more than just the mud-like chugga chugga of rhythm guitars. And just like the music, there’s a definite, unapologetic old school nature to the sound as well.
Overall, Decrepid have crafted a very solid piece of rotten old school death metal with Endless Sea Of Graves. Originality is not in fashion here, but with solid song writing and a skillfull re-creation of yesteryear’s aesthetics, Decrepid still manages to convince. It is testament to their skill, that even the title track of the album in it’s whopping 14+ minute length does not become tedious.
Perhaps this isn’t album of the year material, and perhaps this is not a classic-to-be in the annals of death metal history. But undeniably, this is a very solid slab of that classic old school death metal sound we all know and love.