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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