Decrepit Birth
Axis Mundi

I cannot keep emphasizing what a busy summer it has been for Death Metal for groups here in North America.  Just when I think I am caught up on all of them another comes out and absolutely blows me away.  My infatuation with Decrepit Birth began some almost eighteen years ago when I was on my first festival show in San Antonio Texas with Anal Blast.  I met this bassist named Derek Boyer who at the time was jamming with a group called Deprecated.  He had brought with him some demos of a group from California called Decrepit Birth. I was immediately blown away.

Fast forward to summer of 2017, seven years since Decrepit Birth’s last Release Polarity, we have Axis Mundi, which is by far the best release by these tech-death masters. “Vortex of Infinity – Axis Mundi” wastes no time slamming and grating my ears with a razor sharp ferocity that has me hooked. Matt Sotelo’s guitar sound is as facerippingly tight and precise as it has ever been.  Bill Robinson’s vocal brutal as fuck.  Samus Paulicelli’s kit work is all of the place and he clearly is moving up the ladder of sick drummers not just in North America but also the world.  One of the first things that immediately sticks out about Axis Mundi there is an equilibrium to this release that there has not been on previous albums.  For instance, 2010’s Polarity almost felt entirely like Decrepit Birth trying to do an entire album almost in the vein of the group Death.  Part of the challenge of finding individuality in songwriting as a band is finding the right combination of elements. Axis Mundi has the right balance between the west coast California death metal influences and Death/Cynicish stuff through Axis Mundi.

“Spirit Guide” opens up with a few sweep arpeggios into one of the best riffs on the album and also one of the best builds on the album.  Takes about 90 seconds before the song kicks up a bit.  Paulicelli’s drum work really brings out the sharpness of Sotelo’s melodic guitar lines.  I probably could live without the spoken word part towards the middle of this but the section that it goes into after is quite heavy and leads into a unique synth break of some sorts into a brutal blast section.  At a total run time of over forty minutes Decrepit Birth definitely have built some intensely unique song arrangements and the album continues to build and build as you listen through it. “Hieroglyphic” is one of the strongest tracks on the album.  Hard to catch a breath thirty seconds into this one.  One of the heavier and more brutal tracks on Axis Mundi.  Bassist Sean Martinez definitely makes his presence felt on this track and his melodic scale runs and sweeps segue nicely into an excellent slam part followed by very bright and accurate lead work by Sotelo.  Leads that have FEELING versus other groups out there that may try to use elements of leads as rhythms.

“Ascendant” is my favorite track on Axis Mundi.  This one has a Gene Hoglan era Death vibe about it which is extremely catchy and maybe the most throwback track on Axis Mundi.  For my dollar there is enough variety throughout that it is nice that this release can hold my interest for over forty minutes.  The version of Axis Mundi I have closes with “Embryogenesis” which a neat instrumental track that mixes synth sections in with melodic guitar sections and drum work and then builds to a big double bass groove ending.  So that is how the overall full length ends, what follows are three cover tracks that are all outstanding.

Metallica’s “Orion” starts the three song cover trilogy that ends the bonus Agonia edition of Axis Mundi. This might be the best cover I have heard this year. It sounds like Decrepit Birth playing Metallica for the most part.  All of the melodies are there and makes for an extremely well done cover.  They follow that up with Sepultura’s “Desperate Cry” which I have I to hand it to vocalist Bill Robinson he does an excellent job of paying homage to Max Cavalera. Decrepit Birth finish things off with a very brutal cover of Suffocation “Infecting the Crypts”.  These three covers really are unique and you definitely can see the influence of Metallica, Sepultura, and Suffocation on these guys Overall, man, Nuclear Blast is killing it this summer and add Decrepit Birth on to the ever growing list of great artists putting out killing releases this summer.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
July 31st, 2017

Comments

  1. Commented by: Nick k

    Matt Sotelo did vocals on desperate cry.. found out after submitting


  2. Commented by: Grindymcgrinder

    Bonus tracks are on the nb blue and yellow splatter vinyl which I received last Friday as well. They could a heavier up the production abit but I do appreciate the stunning clarity of everything going on.


  3. Commented by: F.Rini

    Great review, Nick. I completely agree that this is their best album. Just got the digipak with the cover tunes. Super strong album.


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