Centuries of Decay by Centuries of DecayRelease date: August 4, 2017
It’s fun sometimes, formulating a unique description of an album’s style. Much like Meshuggah meets Agalloch in a dark alley, the little catch-phrase I use for this one. Truly, Centuries of Decay’s self-titled album has more in the music than just that vague description to win over new fans of the band, but it helps to give fans an idea of what to expect, especially for literate fans who enjoy reading about their favorite musicians. Therefore, it’s a little description I might use to describe Centuries of Decay, but it comes with a warning. There’s more to the band’s self-titled album than bits of Meshuggah and bits of Agalloch.
In the end, it helps a band somewhat to give fans a heads up. Genre tags are even more difficult to rely on. I wouldn’t have otherwise known what I was getting into when I took a chance on Centuries of Decay’s promo, which was labelled progressive death metal. It’s helpful as a starting point, as long as fans know that bands shouldn’t really be pigeon-holed.
There’s Meshuggah syncopated groove in the riffs accompanied by progressive drumming. There are acoustic and ambient sections that recall Agalloch’s folk majesty, without the tremolo riffs that showed up in most of Agalloch’s earliest work. What else is sandwiched in between obvious qualities that can suitably compare to the two established bands? Much more, but I could instead challenge listeners to check out the album if they’d like to know that for themselves.
The music on Centuries of Decay is pretty good. In my opinion, few djent bands use Meshuggah influence in a better format. I’ve never been a big fan of Tesseract or Pelican, but Centuries of Decay takes that vaunted style to greater heights on most of the album’s latter tracks. The first two tracks don’t hint much at that Meshuggah influence, but instead use ambient sections to place themselves apart from that all-exclusive genre tag.
The drumming is a high for me, as I am a drummer, and I found the drumming here invigorating and entertaining. The riffs follow suit, playing fast, slow, groovy, sometimes chugging, and sometimes ringing out notes. The guitarist goes all over the fretboard in the use of riffs and doesn’t just play djent style all album long. The transitions begin and end with challenging sections. The rhythm section is stellar, and the vocals may be the most Meshuggah influenced of all parts here. Said vocalist barks similarly, but he occasionally throws in hoarse whispers and clean vocals, in ways that don’t detract from the music.
The double-kick drums reign mighty during some songs, and the hi-hat and cymbals are occasionally struck creatively. This may not trump said influence to the band, but the reference to said band may only help fans gain a beginner’s perspective on what to expect here. With tons of catchy riffs, calling the album progressive death metal may mislead fans into thinking that this album is just hackneyed or tributary. The guys on Centuries of Decay put many ideas into the music, and their self-titled album should rival those of djent bands that put little credence into expanding the template. In other words, fans should give this a listen to judge for themselves. Calling them djent is presumptuous. On the other hand, praising them for the worthy effort is only done deservedly.