Decreation by Acephalix

Release date: September 22, 2017
Label: 20 Buck Spin / Sentient Ruin Laboratories

The members of the band Acephalix are old-school death metal weekend warriors, with stints in various other vaunted death metal acts such as Vastum and Necrot. Acephalix isn’t an institution in metal as of now, but they’ve released some quality records through the years, some of which I’ve tracked down and acquired for my own collection. Known for their heavy-as-fuck rhythm guitar and the inclusion of d-beat, punk and crust influences, their latest record, Decreation, is an old-school death metaller’s shopping list staple.

No longer heavy on punk and crust, the band uses both with minimal consistency, in spite of both elements being prominent in the band’s repertoire in prior releases. The band diverges from this path cleanly, starting fresh and new.

There’s a lot of thrash paced drums, heavy chugging riffs, and occasional shredding sections to pace a variety of double-kick segments. Death metal like this is simple, straight-forward and easy to appreciate. Don’t have patience for the basics? Don’t mess with Acephalix. Stay in your Slipknot shirt and stay out of the scene.

But if you want to try out death metal fundamentals 101, start with Acephalix’s catchy, uncomplicated style of death metal magic. The songs are carefully constructed, never overplaying a section or riff in monotonous fashion. They vary the tempos like most good songwriters do.

I will mourn Acephalix’s decision to diverge from their crust and punk-infused focus on prior records, but I will await good and even better old-school death metal releases from the group from now on.

Old-school death metal is clearly about songwriting nuance. It’s not funeral doom, slow throughout the runtime, raging and soloing the way thrash metal has incessantly shown throughout the nineties. It isn’t tremolo riffs on minor chords engineered for a lush, but principally evil sound and ambiance. It isn’t symphonic and classical. It’s a little bit of everything, but never predominantly comprised of one element. It’s fundamental and basic, but done the brutal way. And, it’s fun. That’s the important part.

None of which matters if you don’t like growl and groove death metal the brutal way. This band somehow reminds me of Asphyx, without Van Drunnen’s intense vocal performance. The growls work just fine for Acephalix, and the band doesn’t waste time playing slow doom sections to the dolor of fans who want kick-ass music.

The solos spiral downward then rise furiously with a bend of the strings. The rhythm chugs, shreds, grooves. In downpick and uppick mode, the band slashes through slow sections with aplomb. Hordes of biased metal writers and pundits might say this is underwhelming, but they weren’t around when bands started playing this music eons ago, so they don’t understand the style’s relevance now.

What to say about Acephalix that longtime fans need to hear: get this! And what about fans who incessantly spin Drowning Pool records: maybe it’s about time you guys get into quality music. Acephalix doesn’t intend to reinvent the template, nor does the band aim to impress hordes of Karl Sanders’ technical death metal guitar wannabees. From the smoky tar pits in the deepest tracts of hell, Acephalix play death metal the old-fashioned way. Decreation comes as another quality record in Acephalix’s impressive discography. They’re a good band in an age when writers want page clicks, bands want album sales, and fans are just too lazy to explore metal on their own time and initiative. So, we at Echoes and Dust will cover bands we think you’ll want to check out regardless of hype. Acephalix has a new album. It’s called Decreation. It deserves a listen. Want mass acceptance as a prerequisite to supporting an album? Look elsewhere.

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