Label: Razorbleed Productions
Release Date: March 1st, 2023
Location: Athens, Greece
Where to begin with Greek progressive death/funeral doom act Decemberance and their new opus Implosions? This is an album that just keeps on giving. Just when you think you’ve heard it all the band take things in a completely new direction. Picture this but for over 70 straight minutes; constantly thinking you’ve cracked their code and are able to wrap your head around what’s being played only for a completely left field element to come onto the scene and take things to a whole new place.
I refer to the album as progressive due to the highly unusual elements that the band work in throughout the release that aren’t exactly common place for death/funeral doom. You’ll find technical, faster paced segments here and jazzy free-form sections there, both of which I’m here for it. They sprinkle in some unexpected black metal influences here and there and weave classical elements throughout the fabric of the album. I’ll admit that on first listen to it really caught me off guard, to the point that I had to rewind because it was so wild. Then I thought, “wow that was a really interesting flourish, I’m glad they did that.” Little did I know just how much more was in store for me over the next 70 minutes.
Experimental elements aside this is god-tier funeral/death doom, with crushingly depressive atmosphere and gut wrenchingly raw guttural vocals, all presented across three monumentally long tracks. The album’s overall energy, essence and production gives me 90s Peaceville vibes, but with a modern, experimental twist. If you stripped back those more modern elements though, this release would sit perfectly beside early My Dying Bride, Anathema, Katatonia and Paradise Lost albums. There was just something about the music of that period that perfectly captured raw depressive energy but expressed it in a truly beautiful and deeply moving way and Implosions does just that.
The guitar tone on the slower, more atmosphere focused segments has a deeply melancholic tone to it but at the same time a subtle comforting warmth that hides in the lingering creeping riffs. The heavier, more aggressive moments add some additional bite to this tone, coming down hard on the listener. Both sounds are complimented and elevated by stunning cello and piano elements that are wisely used somewhat sparingly. The restraint that the band shows with these elements allows them to have far greater impact when they do make their appearance. The stripped-back moments where these piano and cello elements are allowed to shine are among my favourites on the album, particularly when the bass shines through the mix and gives it all a whole new feeling.
I need to actually give some additional praise to the bass work on the album overall, as its truly outstanding in both its playing and its mixing. Tone-wise it’s hard to put my finger on the style, but to me it sounds like something that you would usually hear on a tech-death album. It isn’t always fully audible in the mix, often padding the overall sound of the music, but throughout the album it makes appearances at the forefront of the mix, showing just how impressive it really is. The drums are somewhat in the same boat. They sit back restrained at many points, simply helping to create atmosphere and maintain pace and rhythm but then when things pick up or take a more experimental twist they explode out of their slumber and bring a burst of raw energy and power.
Vocally the album is incredibly powerful, finding a perfect point between deeply guttural and raw howled in style. This sweet spot between the two allows for just enough emotional tone to be felt throughout but still gives them a commanding presence. There’s a faded, echoed effect applied in just the right amount, adding some additional dramatic effect and making the album much more captivating. Slightly less often we get less guttural, raw screeched vocals that mix things up and help keep us on our toes. Occasionally you’ll also find emotional clean spoken vocals where the band’s Greek accent shows through and I’m all for it, especially with the echoed effects applied.
Overall, this is one hell of an album and one that sits pretty firmly on my top albums of the year list so far for 2023. I had never actually heard Decemberance prior to this album, but they made me wish that I had. Put simply this is top tier death doom that deserves the same level of regard as those 90s legends that we all know and love. The band should be extremely proud of what they have created here.
Listen to and order the album: