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Decrepit Birth - Axis Mundi Award winner

Decrepit Birth
Axis Mundi
by Andrej Romic (Nekrst Fanzine) at 05 July 2017, 12:24 PM

The name DECREPIT BIRTH shouldn’t be a total surprise to you, for it is a band that has influenced so many other younger bands in the newer generations. If it still is unfamiliar to you, for your own sake and for the sake of others – please search around a bit and get comfortable with the band’s sound. This band means a lot to me, because it belongs in that really small circle of Technical Death Metal bands that have actually introduced me to the genre, a few years back, and that’s something I will never forget. Listening to their utterly raw, greasy, more Brutal Death Metal oriented debut “…and Time Begins” is exactly what got me into them, which is kind of shocking, because the ground-breaker for most people was their second full-length album, “Diminishing Between Worlds”, and that’s something I completely understand, because that album was a massive one, something no one has created before – and to this day, it remains my favorite. I loved the debut, it had its own world, it was incredibly brutal, and just a bit technical. Hats down to the entire album, but some of my mostly appreciated highlights from it were: “Condemned to Nothingness”, “Rebirth of Consciousness” and the title-track, “…and Time Begins”. It was solid for a debut album, and it was solid for a start, but it proved the band had potential back then, and none of that was lost until this very day.

That album was released via Unique Leader Records on October 7th, 2003. A kind of ignored demo from 2006 simply entitled “Promo 2006” was also something people bated an eye on, but not enough, for the true ground-shocking breakthrough came with “Diminishing Between Worlds”. Released through the same record label as the previous one, on January 29th, 2008, a vast amount of people got into the genre using that album. Should they be thankful? Absolutely! Hits such as “Reflection of Emotions” or “A Gathering of Imaginations” were the most appreciated ones, although the album itself was perfect from start to finish, and I could bet no one played it once, the number of plays was uncountable. The five years of waiting for all the fans was absolutely acceptable, because if we learned something from these guys, it’s the fact that talented and incredibly complex music comes from patient people, or those who concentrate and focus on the songwriting, the deepness of music, and those who don’t like to hurry things up. DECREPIT BIRTH is pretty much known to be one of those bands, and I enormously respect that. Although the pause between the next one, called “Polarity” was only two years, it still came out as an incredible record. Once again, they have outdone themselves, giving us an album of eleven mighty songs, two instrumentals, and making a new collaboration with the widely known Agonia Records. Songs such as “(A Departure of the Sun) Igniting the Tesla Coil” or “Polarity” were personally my favorite ones.

The band has gone to silence for a long time, probably the longest pause between two albums. They even stopped touring for a few years, creating a really long pause of seven years. A lot of people were wondering what was going on, including myself I shall admit. Here we are, here I am, about to start writing the actual review of their brand new record, “Axis Mundi”, which will be available everywhere on July 21st. You guys have definitely heard some of the singles that went up, such as “Hieroglyphic” or “Epigenetic Triplicity”. I heard them too, and one thing’s for sure – the wait is over, and it was really worth it. The new album consists of nine brand new tracks, and three covers! Featuring once again a fresh and amazingly trippy artwork done by the legend himself Dan Seagrave who needs no introduction, this album is surely something to be remembered soon. Let’s get right into it, shall we? “Vortex of Infinity – Axis Mundi” is the first thing you will experience when you hit play. It starts with really nasty, slow-pitch riffs, a generally slow atmosphere, riffs which slowly but surely speed up, without rush, though. Some voices can be heard in the background. A distant, brutal growl can be heard, by the almighty Bill Robinson. Everything stops for a few seconds, and instantly, hell gets loose. The furious drumming of Sam Paulicelli, the creative riffs of Matt Sotelo on the guitar and bass-work by Sean Martinez make this song an instant jam. This is a unique and fresh-tasting opening song.

Spirit Guide” is instantly something to fall in love with – because it’s a beautifully composed, overly progressive and ultra technical song. Once again, it starts off with a nice, “esoteric” touch of atmospheric riffs, slowly fading in, and then the drums and hellish guitar riffs keep blasting, whilst the vocals are just raging and out of this world, varying from higher screams to ultra low-pitch guttural growls. The vocals could’ve been heard for just a short while, and between the pauses there are a lot of mini-solos. Overall, this is a song composed to both chill you out and yet give you nightmares with its beautiful atmosphere and its deadly vocal range. At the half of the song things totally get out of hand, speeding up, slowing down – one would think the guys have no idea what are they doing, but we all know that’s just stupid. This was composed with caution, written with skill, and executed with laser precision. Although I managed to mention the artist, I would also like to give a shout out to the guy behind the amazing mastering, Stefano Morabito, known for helping so many bands out there, and also being cool enough to play the guitar in the legendary Italian beast named EYECONOCLAST.

The Sacred Geometry” is a record-breaker. It kicks right off with sharply executed riffs, vocals that are beyond good, and riffs that are creative, fresh and even more unique than before, giving us a small taste of the previous records, whilst still remaining pretty new. DECREPIT BIRTH managed to remind me that even if it’s 2017 and bands are overdoing themselves and they should stop sometimes and ask themselves, does their music have a spirit? This album is the perfect example of that question, and one should not dare to ask that from them, because you already will know the answer when blasting the record. It’s beyond the point of being just a “record”, it’s more than that. Third track in, I am already amazed yet shocked, and still can’t really believe the time has come for this masterpiece to drop soon. Keep counting the days! “Hieroglyphic” is as sharp as a blade, the screams are masterful and the growls once again remain dominant, whilst the riffs “quietly” remain in the background. They are the deepest at this point, and no doubt they will get even “angrier” later. I like the idea of giving the Technical Death Metal infused riffs a lot of experimentation, not merely focusing it on one genre, instead infusing it with lots of progressiveness, some grooves, nasty blast-beat drumming, and a huge amount of atmosphere, which is indescribable at this point. Not just the solo’s, everything about the fourth track is just so alien-y, hypnotizing you, kind of making you fall asleep, just so it could wake you up again! The band makes me put on a hat, just so I could take it off for them, this is just amazing!!

Transcendental Paradox” is kind of a heavier song, focusing on a slower rhythm. The vocals are bit more old-school oriented, whilst the atmosphere pretty much remains the same “old” Technical Death Metal, but still, the vocal duties on this one were completely shocking. If you have some experience with the genre, it won’t be too difficult to understand the lyrics, plus if you manage not to focus on those amazing technical riffs, you have my massive respect. I like how almost all songs are concentrated on being close to the 4:20 minute mark – LOL! Still, blasting this album daily is everything you need in your life. Close to the end – this song presents a beautiful guitar solo, which is kind of melodic, and shredding at the same time, whilst the vocals remain angry as hell. “Mirror of Humanity” reminds me of the earliest possible days of the band’s career, and if you still remember the start of the review, I guess you’ll know what I am talking about. The vocals are quite Brutal Death Metal oriented, giving you a raw and sharp taste, although the riffs know what their duty is. I like how at the middle of the song the riffs merge into an Egyptian themed mix of brutality, beauty, and anger. Combining the three main genres here – Progressive, Melodic  and Technical Death Metal, with just a slight touch of Brutal Death Metal, maybe some Slam too(secretly) and a lot of Groove Metal, if you read between the lines.

Ascendant” focuses totally on fast energy, bizarre vocals, combining some old-school elements with newer ones. The vocals sound raw, sometimes a bit sharp, sometimes just a bit “cleansed”, and sometimes absolutely unfathomable. At the almost end – a beautiful riff tears through the clouds, and this is not even near to Technical Death Metal, it’s more like a Progressive beauty of a solo, what I really appreciate. The song goes on mercilessly, not knowing when to stop – and not even intending to do. “Epigenetic Triplicity” is thus far my favorite one. It’s sheer brutality, the out-of-this-world vocals, the sharp atmosphere, everything is enjoyable. All the time you’re going to be amazed, and of course reminded of bands such as DEEDS OF FLESH, SUFOCATION or HOUR OF PENANCE, although the sound is not completely identical, of course. Originality remains at a very high point. The drums on this one are especially good. Onto the last song that is original DECREPIT BIRTH material, “Embryogenesis”. It starts with orchestral elements, slowly coming drums, lots of riff-work, and although still no vocals have appeared, I am enjoying this one the most – thus far. The key is in the entire atmosphere, which I know I have mentioned a lot, but on this track it is the most epic “atmospheric atmosphere” you are going to hear, possibly the best one in the band’s entire discography! From the progressive passages, to the technical momentums, to the melodic bridges, everything gives you both an apocalyptic, a sad, and yet a happy feeling, too. I know this was an instrumental, sorry! Still, I loved it and I adored it more than I should have.

Onto the last three covers! Believe it or not, the band paid some honor to METALLICA on the tenth and first bonus song, covering their highly acclaimed instrumental, “Orion”. How does it sound like? Well, I am a fan of the bass’s tone. It all starts off real nicely, without any sign of rush. The slow guitar riff is toned down a bit to give you a Death Metal feeling of the cover, but still to remain close to the original. Being that this album itself is really an atmospheric one and it might be the most atmospheric they have done – it still paid a good homage here, and this is a pretty bad-ass cover, done in the right way. Also, don’t hate me – but it’s better than the original, in my opinion. Onto some more classics, the eleventh song is “Desperate Cry” a really good cover of the old-school Max Cavalera era of SEPULTURA from the legendary “Arise” album. More respect toward the Thrash Metal and Groove Metal scene, done in a brutal and nasty way only this band can understand. I like how they also tried to do this one as close as possible to the original, but still remained unique in their very own way. Now, one of my favorite songs ever created in this genre – covered by the band that got me into my favorite genre, jeez. The 12th and final song this time – “Infecting the Crypts” by SUFFOCATION!!! Let’s shout and growl together! This cover blows me away – it was done in a modern way, paying homage to the most brutal band in the Brutal and classic Death Metal genre. The vocals are ultra-low, the riffs are sick, everything is just sped up a little bit to a point where it sounds extra crispy but it still makes you want to head-bang and do circle-pits in your room with the walls! Amazing album! “Axis Mundi”! Remember the name guys, it’s going to remain special for so many years after this point! Buy the album, support the sh*t out of these guys! They deserve it fully! They deserve all your money!!!

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Vortex of Infinity – Axis Mundi
2. Spirit Guide
3. The Sacred Geometry
4. Hieroglyphic
5. Transcendental Paradox
6. Mirror of Humanity
7. Ascendant
8. Epigenetic Triplicity
9. Embryogenesis
Matt Sotelo - Guitars
Bill Robinson - Vocals
Sam Paulicelli - Drums
Sean Martinez - Bass
Record Label: Agonia Records


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Edited 16 July 2018

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