As warlike and aggressive as its theme Encirclement from Finnish metalers Decaying is a beast of a release stomping all over the senses with its shells of death/doom metal. Uncompromising and completely intent on pummelling the senses the album from the Helsinki trio is a brutal slab of simple but punishing death metal sounds.
Encirclement is a follow up to the band’s Devastate release which was made up of their two previous demos New Order and The Annihilator. Formed in the summer of 2010 by Matias Nastolin (guitars, bass, and vocals) and Olli Suurmunne (guitar) the bands previous album grabbed some eager critical acclaim, their old school styled death sounds and ferocity fuelling strongly positive responses. New line-up of Nastolin, guitarist Henri Hirvonen, and drummer Benjam Lahdenpää have unleashed an even mightier brute in Encirclement to surely ensure equal and greater enthusiasm and interest.
The album is themed by and influenced by war and battle, each track antagonistic and powerful as they bombard the ear with explosive and devastating riffs and intensity. The release opens with the ominous imposing instrumental ‘Initiation’, its muscular riffs and mid paced energy softening up the senses for the immense intrusions to follow. ‘Operation Citadel’ takes over to immediately consume beyond the ear with fearsome power and blistering guitars intrusions. The deep guttural vocals and delivery of Nastolin churn and twist with as much black intensity as the sounds, the combination bringing the essence of militant like combativeness forcibly forth.
Each track is a powerhouse that demands attention with over whelming malicious riffs, truculent rhythms, and pugnacious melodies from the guitars but the defiant display of ‘From the Cradle to the Grave’, the impressive and oppressive doom feel of ‘On the Path of Subjugation’, and ‘Public Enlightenment’ with its predatory opening and incessant rampage throughout, all stand out above what is a collection of pleasing heavy artillery from the band.
It is fair to say Decaying do not offer anything particularly new happily staying firmly within the realms of old school death metal but it comes with a freshness and subtle catchiness that lurks and teases behind the wall of noise and power. One could also suggest some of the tracks are a touch over long leading to an eagerness of what is next rather than wanting to hear out the song but that too shows that the band raise an eager appetite with each song so not really a flaw.
Encirclement will find an enthused audience without doubt and its content will feed and satisfy their hungry demands easily. The album is an uncomplicated and honest storm of sounds without pretension or claims of being anything more than it is. The songs are to some extent similar to themselves but more so mighty and nasty with intensity that is direct and voracious and that can never be a bad thing from any release. 2012 is starting with a strong and potent release and Decaying giving firm indication they are a force to keep a close watch on.