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Social Decline – Beyond the Gates Award winner

Social Decline
Beyond the Gates
by Leanne "Metal Maiden" Evans at 01 March 2023, 8:49 PM

Let’s cut to the chase on this one: hardcore and thrash are like manna from heaven. When the godfathers of hardcore AGNOSTIC FRONT delivered its bolshy brilliance, and when METALLICA’s “Kill ‘em All” bestowed its full pelt, tachycardic riffs to the world, a union of the two best genres in existence would become inevitable. The contemporary swell of crossover bands is exciting and personally, I can’t get enough of it: there is no such thing as too fast, too aggressive, or too passionate in my world.  So, let me introduce you to the intoxicating fusion of SOCIAL DECLINE, a Danish hardcore crossover band that pulls no punches and delivers endless body blows with its fierce amalgamation of punked-up attitude and thrash riff-centric sonics. These pissed off Danes have released their third full-length, “Beyond the Gates”, a scathingly brutal homage to societal shitstorms and candid, politically charged musings through incendiary sonic virulence and primal ferocity.

Reviewing the latest SOCIAL DECLINE album, it’s mind-blowing to fathom that I’m listening to a crossover band from Copenhagen, mostly because “Beyond the Gates” exudes the sort of storming assault SWORN ENEMY would be proud of in the NYC scene. There’s the same level of visceral output CARNIVORE managed to achieve and the lasting sullen attitude of MADBALL to go with it. The bones of “Beyond the Gates” is classicist spitting hardcore with the muscularity of S.O.D. and NUCLEAR ASSAULT’s style of boisterous thrash riffing. “Trenches of Salvation” boots you square in the nuts with its immediacy as a hardcore heavy hitter drenched in thick thrash guitars, whilst the sarcasm flows freely in all its pent-up punk flavours in “I Am the State”. In a similar vein to SWORN ENEMY’s “Coming Undone”, SOCIAL DECLINE opts for a stripped back bare vulnerable acoustic intro to “Weight of a Broken Dream”, with the end result unravelling in the same way as their hardcore brothers’ furious vengeance unleashing in a track that intends to pulverise with its marching rhythm and battering-ram vocals.

“Beyond the Gates” is one of the most uncompromising thrash-style albums I’ve heard so far this year, and SOCIAL DECLINE’s burgeoning appetite for its signature impassioned, condemnatory metallic hardcore is addictive. “Silvercage” unleashes its fury in blunt shocks to the system, bleeding into “Birds of Prey” which discharges hellish chaos in a next-level approach to incorporating chunky riffs and intermittent melodies. It’s the potency of “Ignition” that’ll get your fire roaring with its injections of D-beat, hulking instrumentals, and those mighty vocals of conviction complete a true circle pit worthy cut. The bolshy yet brawny attitude of SOCIAL DECLINE is ceaseless, and the band’s finesse stems from orchestrating a bellicose blend of metallic hardcore aesthetics that fills your soul with pure fighting spirit slathered in napalm.  Take the title-track that gives the sort of filthy bass action Dan Lilker would be proud of, a track structure akin to “Join the Army” era SUICIDAL TENDENCIES would approve, complete with TERROR smeared all over it, or listen to the pure hate of “Victory of Plutocracy” with its distorted, incendiary riffs and poisonous vocal execution.

SOCIAL DECLINE’s abrasive message of angst, injustice, and social awareness is one that relates on so many levels and will have you ready to take on the world at the opening chord. If you’re not hating on the scumbags of society after listening to “Beyond the Gates”, you don’t deserve this violently hard-nosed album. Fact.

Songwriting:   9
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  10
Production:     9

4 Star Rating

1. Trenches of Salvation
2. I Am the State
3. Weight of a Broken Dream
4. Silvercage
5. Birds of Prey
6. Ignition
7. Speaking for the Dead
8. Beyond the Gates
9. 260486
10. Victory of Plutocracy
Christian Hindkjær – Vocals and Bass
Bo Odgaard Rasmussen – Vocals and Guitar
Jesper Lind – Guitar
Esben Olsen - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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