Thyrgrim – Dekaden (Talheim Records)

Sunday, 6th December 2015
Rating: 7/10

Did a quick double-take upon reading Thyrgrim “doesn’t need Satan to express themselves.” For a moment, DR thought this was treading toward the dreaded Christian black metal movement, which couldn’t be a bigger oxymoron. Thankfully, a review of Thygrim’s career and back catalog reveals the Germans simply aren’t concerned with such typical topics, although the basis of Dekaden, their fifth album, is “basic feelings like hate, anger, grief, and depression.” Point well taken. All of these work in the realm of black metal, so perhaps there isn’t much of a need to conjure up the ‘ole devil anyway…

Playing a welcome, but hardly inventive style of vintage, second-wave black metal, Thyrgrim get bogged down in the same scenario many of their also lesser-known contemporaries do: They don’t understand dynamics in the context of black metal. The constant sideways, mile-a-minute riffing and cascade of relentless drums are good if you’re Marduk circa 1999, but at some point, there has to be variety. Unfortunately, that moment never quite comes until the interlude song, appropriately titled “Interlude.” The rest of Dekaden is awash in a constant bind of age-old black metal truisms, none of which really translate well over to a band from Germany.

Nevertheless, we’ll give this one a nudge for a handful of searing, unrelenting numbers, such as “Dette er Tysk Svart Metal,” a song which oddly enough, is translated into “This is German Black Metal.” Elsewhere, the in-and-out atmospheric pangs found on “Zeichen Deiner Schwäche,” works as well. Not sure if there is much else to ask from a mid-level German black metal band who has been kicking around for over ten years now…

Thyrgrim on Facebook