Decomposed – Wither (Chaos Records)

Thursday, 6th October 2016
Rating: 7.5/10

If it looks like old school Swedish death metal, and sounds like it too – it must be Swedish death metal right? Wrong, in the case of Decomposed. Despite having a tonal quality to it similar to the buzzsaw bands of yore, Decomposed is thankfully more interested in providing some doom and gloom than the usual mid-paced gallop. Which is what gives Wither it’s surprising strength.

Not really doom/death in the traditional sense, but not exactly death metal either, Decomposed treads in more of a grey area in this regard. The melodies seem to echo this sentiment, which seems to go between cavernous and sprawling moments that are basking in bleak atmospheres. Listen to the song “VOID” and you can get a clear sense of the darkness present in the band’s tone. Lurching and creeping is the best way to describe the track, with an elevation into a fantastic death march that feels more akin to mid-tempo Hypocrisy than it does to Grave. The vocals have enough gravel to them to provide an aggressive tone, but still can connect with the listener to show a sense of agony and melancholy as well. “Drenched in Wounds” may kick things up a notch on the speed scale, but one does tend to yearn for the doomier elements (which thankfully the title track is happy to move back into between heavier bursts).

The band seems to be at its best when it is providing sludgier, doomier tempos (“VOID” or “Downwards”) and there are some shining moments of potential here. Some of the deathly moments do work well (“Into Nothing”) and provide a change of scenery, but you may find yourself hoping for another crushing doom riff instead of that mid-tempo death metal marching. With more of a balance in check, Decomposed is onto something.

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