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Back From the Underground - 100%

EsotericSpiritCan, March 3rd, 2018

No word can possibly express the thrill I feel for the birth of this record... As a fan of almost ten years, it was very disappointing news back then to know that the melodic thrashers of Sweden had split up (fans didn't know in retrospect that it would be temporary). It was quite a disappointing shift considering the fact that at that time we also saw the split of Dismember, Nevermore, and Metalium--all bands that I love. And who can forget to mention the curtains closing on Theatre of Tragedy and Celtic frost a few years prior, and the sudden absence of Galloglass as if the entire band got swallowed by a power metal dragon somewhere back in the "Ancient Times"? The split of the Swedish melodic-thrashers was not any easier.

It is common knowledge that the disbanding of legends and pioneers is nothing new in the world of metal. But, nor is the chance of resurrection for such bands who then crawl out of their graves and come back with new dirges for our ears that, oftentimes, sound even better the second time around. Subjectively, I argue that this is the case with Decadence in the underground.

Undergrounder carries on further along the lines of the band's last two albums. But it is much more aggressive and to the point, very similar to the newer albums of Kreator. Some thrashers don't tend to like this level of technicality, but for those who enjoy it, Undergrounder has lots to offer.

Metallic Kitty's voice is very raspy and blends in with the guitars really well. She doesn't dabble as much into the death metal growling like in previous albums. They're somewhat reminiscent of Angelripper and Mille Petrozza in style but without a doubt uniquely her own distinguishable voice that's equally aggressive and melodic.

Undergrounder speaks to fans about going through life and not always being appreciated, thus either trying harder or choosing to step away. Example songs are: One More Fight and Always the Most Extreme. Steam City explores the subject of living in a systematic and urban setting as a challenged individual. Its lyrics are somewhat metaphorical which allow room for interpretation, thus speaking to listeners' personal issues. Such subliminal-style lyrics are present throughout the whole album.

Decadence is definitely an experimental band with thrash metal at the core of its heart. Thankfully, much of this thrash metal is unleashed on Undergrounder, promising an even further progression for the band and their fans.

Thrash to the bone: A rare breed - 90%

SlayerDeath666, April 10th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, Heavy Dose

Sweden has long been a hotbed for awesome metal bands but historically, they do not have a great thrash pedigree. Warfect put out a great album last year and Dr. Living Dead! is great and so are Witchery but Sweden is better known for their death, black and melodeth. All this just means that Decadence are a rare breed, especially given that they are female-fronted. Undergrounder is their fifth album but their first in eight years.

Decadence are dead serious about proving Swedes can thrash with the best of them. Kenneth’s riffs on this album are fast and furious with a reasonably thick guitar tone that brings up memories of another melodic thrash band, France’s Lyzanxia. The riffs are definitely ripping and awesome with just enough of a modern flair to keep the music sounding fresh and relevant. They may not be quite as fast as some other modern bands but Decadence seems to be perfectly okay with that idea as they focus slightly more on crafting killer guitar melodies than most bands. There are also a few nice grooves on this album like in “Powerhouse,” which is a fitting title for the song.

The drumming on Undergrounder is fairly standard for thrash but Lawrence turns in a great performance. There is not a ton of creativity in his work but his execution is top-notch, pile driving each song along at a pretty good clip. It may not be blinding speed but it is close enough for rock n’ roll as they say. Interestingly, this is the first album since the self-titled debut not to feature Erik Rojas behind the kit. The band did split up for four years and people change but Lawrence’s work on this album is in a session musician capacity. Decadence reformed as just Kitty and Kenneth so they have no permanent drummer as of now. Let’s hope they find one soon because by the sounds of this album, they would be killer in a live setting.

Kitty’s vocals are of particular interest for a few reasons. Firstly, she is a rare breed as there are very few female-fronted thrash bands. Secondly, unless you know the band is female-fronted, you cannot tell because Kitty’s style is so harsh and aggressive that gender does not come into the picture. Her vocals sound very much like a cross between Sabrina Classen (Holy Moses) and Angela Gossow (ex-Arch Enemy) with perhaps a pinch of Nervosa thrown in for good measure. She has a hell of a voice and it would be easy to argue that her voice is superior to Angela’s in pretty much every way. Kitty possesses a similar ability for lyric intelligibility but her delivery sounds much more real.

With the clear amount of talent and skill showcased on this album, it is utterly baffling that this band is fairly unknown. It could be due to any number of factors but at the end of the day, Decadence deserve a spot in the thrash pantheon next to the likes of Holy Moses and Détente. If you are looking for a serious thrashing, give Decadence’s Undergrounder a go and you will be banging your head furiously in no time!

- originally written for The Metal Observer