Decrepit Birth

Expectations are high for Decrepit Birth’s third album. The wide spread acclaim for 2008’s Diminishing Between Worlds set the bar high, and many, including myself, thought the band simply peaked at the right time with their choice to add melody to technical death metal. Throw in a shift from Unique Leader to Nuclear Blast and the recipe for a step back was ripe.

I was wrong. Polarity is everything that Diminishing Between Worlds was.

Still plying what is essentially Death (Individual Thought Patterns, Human, The Sound of Perseverance) played through a more brutal death metal filter, Polarity again reeks of the aforementioned Death classics as well as Theory In Practice, Cynic and Atheist. It’s intricate, complex and dizzying, but still managing to be memorable yet brutal. And that’s where, like last year’s Obscura, Augury and Gorod albums, Polarity and Decrepit Birth stand out. And one could argue that those bands only further cemented the template laid down on Diminishing Between Worlds.

Upon initial listens, Polarity passes by in a 38 vortex of tenacious complexity and Bill Robinson’s gruff growls – the bands only unspectacular element. But Polarity is truly an album that has to be listened to over and over again to appreciate and decipher it’s truly mind blowing brilliance. From the delicate opening strains of tempo setting opener “(A Departure Of The Sun) Ignite The Tesla Coil” the album shifts from blistering, crystalline ferocity to pristine, shimmering harmonies and solos and back perfectly. However, the 6+ minute opener is the last time you get that sort of rangy, epic track, as the rest of the album is smartly segmented into short bursts of 2-4 minute bursts of mutating, gamma ray filled sonic battery.

The words ‘elegantly brutal’ or ‘brutally elegant’ kept coming to mind, as the tracks unfurled their melodic secrets upon me on multiple listens. In part because, the almost overwhelming brain shredding, star imploding complexity of the likes of “Metatron”, “The Resonance”, “Polarity”, “Mirroring Dimensions” and “Symbiosis” are at least littered with just enough cerebral breaks and harmonic, controlled tangents to provide a little respite. A few tracks like “Solar Impulse” (with the exception of its cortex melting last few moments), instrumental “Sea of Memories” (further cementing the Death influence), and moody closer “Dark Embrace” are full on time outs, allowing the listener to fully compose themselves.

On the down side, as I mentioned Robinson vocals are just ‘there’, not surprising for a seemingly homeless guy. And personally, the best minute on the album “A Brief Odyssey In Time” is criminally short. I want more of those keyboards as the track is more of a teaser than a full track for some reason. But none of these issues stop Polarity being as good as (but not better than) Diminishing Between Worlds, cementing Matt Sotelo as a true genius in metal and Decrepit Birth as the arguable king of the tech death heap.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 13th, 2010


  1. Commented by: shane

    I agree. Musically this is awesome but the vocals are something that could use some work.

  2. Commented by: mccumberv

    Decrepit Birth, Augury, Hour of Penance and Fleshgod Apocalypse are setting the bar higher and higher for memorable brutal technical death metal.

    Great review!!!!

  3. Commented by: gordeth

    It’s a shame that the more experimental songs on here are also the shortest. It seems like they were afraid of experimenting too much but I would like to hear more in the vein of Solar Impulse and A Brief Odyssey In Time. It’s still a great album, though.

  4. Commented by: Infinite Death (Nick)

    At first I frowned upon Polarity a lot, but I’ve really warmed up to it and at this point I think it’s a stellar album, no doubt. Really enjoyable, just like the rest of their discography. As far as Bill being “seemingly homeless” Erik, I’m not sure if you’re referring to the actual story behind him or not?

  5. Commented by: Reignman35

    Good call on the multiple listens… picked this up a few weeks ago during their Ft. Worth stop on the Summer Slaughter tour and it really sinks in after a few spins. Sotelo is incredible and don’t forget their drummer, KC Howard… Dude puts on a percussion clinic behind the kit. Awesome album.

  6. Commented by: mike

    My fav. album of the year (so far), much like Diminishing was two years ago. Even though the vocals may be the “weak link” as such, I must say I still really enjoy the generic brutal growls over the extraordinary, melodic and technical musicianship.

    The only complaint is the album is too short, whereas Diminishing was I think 55 minutes in length.

  7. Commented by: AARONIUS

    Well that settles it, I’ll have to check this out.

    I’ve been hearing how amazing this band is and how great the new album is from just about everywhere so I’m guessing the hype is true.

  8. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    This album is so fucking good its absolutely ridiculous. mccumberv you forgot to mention Obscura in your list, as Cosmogenesis was THE tech metal album of 2009, and Polarity is every bit its equal, making it THE tech metal album of 2010. This is a stunning example of musical genius. And I agree gordeth, Solar Impulse is the fucking showstopper on this album.

    Top 5 material for sure!

  9. Commented by: bast

    I agree, genius death metal here! As you say, it takes a little while but then it doesnt let go.

  10. Commented by: Wvrm

    One of my favorite bands at the moment. I just bought my copy of Polarity this weekend, actually. I enjoy the vocals quite frankly, nothing to complain about IMO. And the lyrics, oh man the lyrics… Theyre incredible. Great review, but I think the lyrics shouldve been mentioned at least.

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