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Nothnegal - Decadence Review

by Matt Hensch

Oh dear, this is a letdown. A lot of people don't focus on the Maldives Islands when it comes to metal, but these Nothnegal fellows started turning some heads and attracting a healthy dose of attention after a successful debut EP; Marco Sneck of Kalmah fame and the famous Kevin Talley joined the band after the acclaim of their release, in fact. Nothnegal's style counters the melodic death metal postulate on a titillating angle, involving heavy keyboard rotations that have strong hints of sci-fi tones and patterns that typically sound somewhat on the progressive side of things. "Decadence" at least has the preliminary attraction of an interesting album, but there's not enough to preserve any memorable qualities of the record other than a handful of above-average moments.

Usually one can find an acceptable tune or so throughout a dull release, but "Decadence" feels like it’s constantly in slow-wave sleep. The whole album is pretty much divided into chug-laden guitar work and other lame riffs often found in the bowels of the melodic death metal environment while Kevin Talley picks up the pace on the technical end, and there're keyboards too. All eight songs follow a safe pattern and blend together using the same pace, the same rhythms, the same ideas, and the same sameness; you could probably overlap each track and actually produce something somewhat cohesive. The vocals are mundane growls that sound totally uninspired and lifeless, and I'm sure you'd need a pair of jumper cables, a car battery, and some very powerful defibrillator pannels to actually zap some life into most of these tunes.

The only truly acceptable quality of "Decadence" is the keyboard use, which at least glazes the music in something that isn't mediocre tripe. Nothnegal's efforts to at least include the instrument paid off immensely and really saved this album from becoming a complete and utter wreck. The last two tracks ("Sins of our Creation," "Singularity") ditch the vapid growls for a clean vocal approach which is surprisingly brisk and filling; the dude really has some great pipes on him, and it baffles me why they apply the bland growls for most of "Decadence." Other than that, Nothnegal looks irrelevant as a whole, typically shifting from dire straits to sleep-inducing blandness in the flash of the blade.

A lot of folks are fed up with melodic death metal and listening to something like "Decadence" makes me realize the criticism. And it also surprises me why Nothnegal suppressed the best qualities of the record (the clean vocals, keyboards) rather than utilizing these semi-enjoyable notions; this containment unsurprisingly damaged the album in devastating ways. "Decadence" could’ve been a force that completely reinvented melodic death metal into an unstoppable locomotive, but Nothnegal quickly lost their velocity and was desperately running on fumes rather than producing worthwhile substance. Melodic death metal fans might want a slice of this, but expecting the world in a disc would be gravely foolish. Good luck staying awake if you try this one out, as much I hate to say it.

Nothnegal - Decadence


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