DECOHERENCE – Unitarity (2020)REVIEW

Consider a singular entity and the entire span of its existence. Infinite time, limitless space, and all measurable probability of the entity’s positioning within each factor can be reduced through (binary) mathematical deduction into any number of quantum states that when conglomerated make up a suggested quantum system. The idea that any quantified system is inherently indestructible for the sake of its representation of all potential variables is essentially deterministic when viewed from the right angle. Whether you study atomic science or ancient philosophy the student inevitably places themselves as the entity as a first measure of understanding this principle of unitarity wherein the absurdism of motion (or action of any kind) is deemed knowable by way of predictive mathematical observation: If you are the entity, a worm writhing at the tip of a branch in the wind, all joy and suffering amount to the same meaningless delirium experienced by ye unwavering nihil. At times it feels as if this applies to the array of human thought on rock music where the rapid evolution of extreme metal exhausts each new point of supposed advance well enough to numb even the most dedicated optimist with each increasing wave. There is yet some beauty left in the right angle, the perfect curve of flesh impressed upon a backdrop of oceanic stars, and I would suggest the internationally sourced futurism of dissonant and industrial rock influenced atmospheric black metal act Decoherence has found thrilling advent on their second major release ‘Unitarity’, wherein the loft and lilt of their songwriting reaches far beyond the exorcisms of the past.

When I’d reviewed the UK/US spread project’s first official EP (‘I‘, 2019) I’d been generally impressed by their grasp of dissonant French black metal influence but I’d not yet drawn the line towards Blut Aus Nord and their own experiments with industrial music inspiration until their debut full-length (‘Ekpyrosis‘, 2019) released. Shades of Darkspace‘s ante-upping ‘II’ and ‘III’ also came into view in terms of rhythm guitar motions, insistent and streaming atmospheric black metal attacks that blur via the hallucinogenic properties of their consistency. Because I’d made those connections in mind it didn’t make sense to emphasize the industrial elements of Decoherence‘s oeuvre at the time simply because they were not emphasizing it as much as the dark ambient spectrum, creating moods but not yet resorting to hooks. Now go ahead and school me on industrial rock and straight industrial in the early 90’s if you’d like but, a lot of the stuff that crossed over with IDM seems to have influenced the black metal bands I’d mentioned earlier in this paragraph and in turn Decoherence appear to have built upon the key developments of ‘Dark Space III’ and ‘MoRT’ as much as they’ve developed their own sense of industrial’s applications to extreme metal. In simpler terms, much of what makes ‘Unitarity’ special is that it does something familiar (dissonant + industrial black metal) in an unfamiliar and ‘fresh’ way.

“Metastable Phase Transition” is the first sign of Stroda‘s hand meshing with the harsher side of Prior‘s (Resection) work in a meaningful way, the gloom of this first half of the piece is remarkably well integrated with the guitar arrangement as the build of the song reaches an impressive sway between tension and release thanks to abyssal guitars and a quick hurl towards blasts. The transition from ominous ambiance towards commanding black metal riffing on the piece offers a key highlight for the album that at the very least represents a considerable point of growth for the band. “Tension Formed” flips that dynamic back wards to some degree, ending the last third of the album as a terse but naturally achieved bout of respite. “Remnants” is the piece that fully takes the next step towards integration of these styles and does a fine job of it between the creeping horror synth of the intro and the integration of those slower industrial rock beats from 1:45 through ~3:20 minutes into the song. For sure a lot of ‘industrial’ black metal projects are labeled as such due to poor drum machine utility but in the case of Decoherence I believe ‘industrial black metal’ does sum up a certain percentage of the greater merger of sub-genres the trio commands.

“Unitarity Violation” is the road all things lead to as the closer and perhaps one of the most promising developments on an already remarkably listenable-yet-extreme recording; This is the piece where I’d most connected with the guitar performances on ‘Unitarity’ as the Godflesh-isms appear to really flood out at this point creating a morbid farewell from within a vortex of doom-psych’d riffing and wailing guitar feedback that is removed from the washed-out and furious insistence of dissonant guitar patterns that dominate the rest of the album. It feels like a grand release, a psychotic break with good reason and a peak moment for the album that I’d otherwise come back to repeatedly for the industrial elements. The way that “Unitarity Violation” loops back into “Final Boundary State” is intoxicating and this makes for a sublimely bookended listening experience that makes a fair case for another spin each time. Vibrancy might be an odd condition for a black metal record so driven by abyss-bound forces but this is an inspired and unusually expressive set of pieces from Decoherence that I’d not been fully expecting. Beyond that I’m curious to see if they’ll push harder at the boundaries next time around, plenty of room to grow but still a remarkable listen. A moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
LABEL(S):Sentient Ruin Laboratories
RELEASE DATE:August 14th, 2020
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [All Formats]
GENRE(S):Atmospheric Black Metal,
Industrial Black Metal

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