Decomposed from Sweden is one of the most engaging bands I discovered by impulsively buying the CD of their 2014 release ‘Devouring’. Decomposed’s brand of meat and potatoes Swedish death metal is instantly alluring and I’ve been waiting for a follow up for quite some time now. Switch to 2016, and the band has now become a one man studio project with Jesper Ekstal handling everything with the help of drummer Emil Leijon. Their latest release, ‘Withering’ showcases how Decomposed has not suffered due to the exit of the other members and the band continues to deliver bludgeoning death metal, which is exactly what I’ve come to expect and love from this band.
The throaty growls of Jesper sets things in motion on By Nothingness Crowned and the track has a very blackened atmosphere. This is something that carries over into the rest of the album. The riffs flounce on with a mad conviction to bludgeon everyone and everything in their path. Decomposed do not pigeonhole themselves into one particular style of death metal and through the course of the album, they make subtle changes to their style which works wonders in making this album diverse and engaging. From the groove led opener the band transitions into thrashier waters with Upheavel before ominously slowing things down in VOID.
The riff writing skills of this band is brought to the fore by tracks like VOID where the tension is slowly built by playing with a single riff that feels like tightening a guitar string. The band opts for a warm tone on the record which ensures that the riffs are heard quite clearly. This works in the record’s favor considering how infectious Decomposed’s riffs truly are. The album feels like it’s dripping with baleful melodies and the atmosphere screams pure evil. Decomposed let the riffs do the talking, with very little in terms of pretentiousness or excessive flair. The few times that they do opt for clean acoustics on the title track, they use it effectively to build a sense of dread and enigma. This is stripped down death metal that only aims to crush.
Be it slow, crawling doom flavored death metal or blistering, pedal to the metal thrashers, Decomposed deliver on all fronts. Though this is not a genre defying or ground breaking album in any way, it is undeniable how engaging and enjoyable it is. ‘Wither’ is death metal in it’s purest form, executed with such conviction and panache that nothing else really matters.