Decrepit Birth – Polarity

By Jason Wellwood

First off, points to Decrepit Birth for not employing melodic vocals on this record. There are passages within Polarity that would definitely do well with a clean vocal but instead the band relies on Bill Robinson’s standard death metal growl to get them through. The effect is actually opposite of what you would assume; it highlights the musicianship of the band and makes the songs feel more cohesive. It would have been easy to put a clean vocal on Polarity, but the results would have been disastrous for the band Now, to jump back a bit, coming in to this review I knew nothing about Decrepit Birth. I hadn’t heard either of their previous records and it wasn’t until after repeated listens to Polarity that I started to dig in and try to find out a little about the band. Admittedly both their name and their history is a little ‘off putting’ to say the least, but since I’ve never been one to read forums or gossip blogs, I decided to let the music speak for itself in order to make my decisions about this band. I’m glad I did.

Polarity has a lot of depth to it, peaks and valleys that a lot of death metal lacks. It’s not all about driving a blast beat through your chest every song from beginning to end. ‘Sea of Memories’ has the pounding beat, but the soloing over top of the rock solid rhythm section finds Matt Sotelo channelling his inner guitar god. A little jazzy in places, and spacey in others (check out ‘Solar Impulse’), Decrepit Birth have managed to create an album that keeps even casual listeners interested. Maybe the beauty of this record though is the way they’ve managed to keep an old school death metal feel without sounding ‘retro’ and having a modern take without resorting to cliché. At only 38 minutes, I’m sure that there will be a lot of kids poo-pooing this record, but personally I don’t think it needed any longer. I actually don’t understand why so many bands (and fans) feel that since you CAN put 80 minutes of music on a disc, you HAVE to. I’d rather have a cohesive, solid 38 minutes total than 80 minutes with 40 of it being crap.

In summation: Decrepit Birth: bad name, bad past, good band. Polarity: great record. Bravo!

(Nuclear Blast)

Rating: 9

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.