SOMATIC DECAY – Existential Decadence (2022)REVIEW

Though I doubt this first demo/EP from Somatic Decay intends to pick up where the duo had left off with their time in the now defunct Ossuarium these Portland, Oregon-based fellowes are in fact creating ‘new old school’ death metal at a similar clip and with a likewise riff-heavy, groovin’ with the classics kind of sound in tow. I don’t remember what tour I’d attended pre-pandemia, Fetid or a similar bass-heavy live set, where you couldn’t have walked up to that performance impressed by anything -but- how mean their bass guitar tone sounded live. It isn’t such a rare sensation, I could trace it much further back to a hundred Autopsy or early Cianide influenced death metal bands whom carry a damned tank around for their low end, but that is what’d nonetheless been the major heat felt digging into ‘Existential Decadence‘ — that it was already an earwax melter, a bass heavy, jog-paced and lung hurled slow burn.

There is a certain physicality applied to the rhythms here which gets its larger skeletal rub from drummer/vocalist Ryan Koger, whose other 2019-apexing band Troll also folded not too long ago, his style is cognizant of the simplicity involved in the classic underground death metal movement you’ll most often find in the United States circa ’91 or so, as more kids entered the fray without a lot of thrash metal ambition in mind. An ambidextrous skill set, most of which expresses within fills and transitions, echoes the gnarlier and most bluntly beaten mid-paced death metal acts around today without sounding too intentionally primitive. The swinging n’ riffing feeling to Somatic Decay‘s movements and general riff style almost instantly reminded me of the Nick Sebock-drummed side of ‘Eroded Thoughts‘ (see: “Total Human Obsolescence”) but, just as much as it might invoke an old Abhorrence or Mythic tape, albeit with far more finesse applied to the moment-to-moment action. Guitarist/bassist Nate McCleary (Lowered, ex-Ossuarium) generally focuses on slower and fairly straightforward rhythms here, gnarling up into a Finndeath twist or a death/doom aside here and there but otherwise letting the bass ride loud and slightly distorted so that his frequent use of leads can do the atmospheric shaping and punctuate each song.

At three songs and ~fifteen minutes of steady death metal action Somatic Decay have presented their gig’s first gasp with a sound just murderous enough to key us into what they’re all about without showing all their cards just yet. Of course I’d like to see this style pushed in various directions for a full-length but for now the vibe is strong, the riffs are easygoing, and the whole ride is pretty damned good. A high recommendation.

High recommendation. (80/100)

Rating: 8 out of 10.
TITLE:Existential Decadence
LABEL(S):Iron Lung Records
RELEASE DATE:May 6th, 2022

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