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Finding the Zen in Unmitigated Noise - 85%

TrveKvltBeaker, August 6th, 2021

With this short (less than 10 minutes in length) EP, British black metal act Decoherence find themselves playing a shockingly well-produced variety that rewards more and more with each listen.

This self-titled EP features only 2 tracks, but much to dig into soundscape-wise.

The production certainly remains the highlight here, with crisp, icy guitars shearing through the top of the mix, followed by drums that hold much lower volume than I'm used to for modern black metal. The benefit here is that the midrange has room to be soaked through by some barely perceptible synths and even a choir in places. This leads to a highly haunting series of soundscapes that are as hypnotic as they are menacing. This dichotomy makes for an eminently relaxing and zen-like listen, as I have found myself returning to this release many times for another look at its best features. For fans of wall-of-sound-style black metal releases, this self-titled EP remains worth multiple listens.

My only criticism is that this EP is extremely short, and the vocals are totally unintelligible (even for black metal). Seriously, I don't think there's even an actual word sung nor screamed on this thing, which may add to the feeling for some. That being said, I generally prefer the more Darkthrone-influenced style of theatrical black metal vocals, but this is still pretty great, all things considered.

All together, this EP proves a great listen, with lots to think about and dissect despite its short length. The 2nd track (entitled "II") is definitely the biggest highlight in my opinion. I hope to see the same level of quality from their 2020 LP as well.

The void beckons. - 79%

JetMeestard, February 15th, 2021

Decoherence is one of those "mystery" bands you can't find much info on. Hell, I stumbled upon them by sheer chance and despite trying my hardest to find any information on them, all I could find is that their name is supposed to be something related to quantum mechanics. But we’re not here to discuss nerd shit, we’re here to discuss the band's self-titled 2019 EP, a 10 minute burst of suffocating, dissonant black metal.

Things kick off with "I", which sets the tone with its murky tremolo riffing and near-constant blasting underneath. The track really shines during the slower moments though, where the band decides to shift gears providing a welcome change of pace while still maintaining their energy. Moments like the riffs at 2:28 and 2:59 mix things up, though they do come a bit late during the track’s runtime, most of which was spent in the aforementioned blasting.

The real star of this release though is “II”. It has a more brooding character and much more variety in its pacing, with a very slow and dissonant riff setting the stage, before the band throws us into another cacophonous maelstrom. The band here utilises tempo changes more often and sprinkles them throughout the track, keeping things from getting stale. The entire section from 3:26 to 4:19, where they progressively build up tension before launching back into chaos again is just great, and the acoustic section near the end ties things up nicely.

That being said, I’ve 2 gripes with this release which hold it back a bit. Those being that opener could’ve used some more variety and the production. The instruments themselves sound fine, but the way the bass and the drums are mixed, more specifically the snare, bother me quite a bit. The snare is so lost in the mix that I didn’t even notice it on my first two listens, which is a real shame because Stroda does some crazy stuff behind the kit, and it’s just buried underneath the chaos of the instruments and vocals. However, it can be argued that noticing his patterns on repeat listens makes for a more rewarding experience.

At the end of the day, Decoherence is a decent EP that definitely serves as a good entry point for the band and is bound to satisfy fans of this style of black metal. It has some minor drawbacks but nothing that outright cripples it. It definitely piqued my curiosity enough to take a look at the rest of the band’s discography.

Highlight: II