Originally written by Gregory Bradley.
And so the war continues between Sweden and Finland for the crown of best melodic death metal-producing country. 2003 was full of Finnish victories, with their lightning speed and hyper-melodic guitar synchronicity. If Centinex’s latest effort is any inclination of what 2004 has to offer, it seems that Sweden will stage a coup d’etat to regain the mighty throne. Giving the nod to old-skool At The Gates style riffing, Decadence – Prophecies of Cosmic Chaos is downtuned Swedish death metal combining the best of the brutal and melodic sides of metal.
I could’ve sworn I was listening to Slaughter of the Soul when I played the first track. It has the energy and intensity of At The Gates, so much so that it’s a near carbon copy. It’s hard to say if Centinex has a heavier delivery than ATG; with this album I’d say they are heavier, mostly because of the dual vocal attack. I don’t know if there are two guys doing vocals or if it’s just some track layering, but there are low, brutal vocals and some more raspy vox. It comes off similar to Callenish Circle. Either way, I love it.
Decadence – Prophecies of Cosmic Chaos contains some fresh and innovative riffs, but also some that sound a little TOO much like At The Gates. I found myself remembering ATG songs all too often here. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and there’s plenty of original material here to keep me more than happy. The thing that sets them apart from ATG is the song structures. ATG songs generally have an intro riff, a verse, a chorus, a solo, and some other combination of the above. Centinex will mix it up on you, add a sub-chorus or a 3rd version of a verse, or blow you away with a great second solo. They might even throw in a quick soft portion, only to blast you with more brutality only seconds later.
Speaking of solos, these guys combine the best of brutal death metal’s fret-burning (and rather trite) playing of scales and melodic metal’s flowery melodies. The song “Target: Dimension XII” has a KILLER example of this about three quarters of the way through; it’s astonishing really, and it puts simple-minded death metallers in their scale-playing, inferior place. The fact that they can do all of this without getting hand cramps makes me want to go cry in the corner when I remember my own disappointing lack of talent. My favorite song has to be “Deathstar Unmasked” for it’s wonderful variety. It starts out with a brutal riff, goes quickly into a lighter moment, then a thick, meaty chugga-chugga riff. It has the quick breaks that I love so much, headbanging greatness, quick double bass, brooding dark moments, and surprising twists and turns that make for an absolute masterpiece of a song. Another great headbanger is “Cold Deep Supremacy”, listen and you’ll know why. Naturally there are one or two lesser tracks, but they are more than made up for by the killer ones.
My only gripe here is the fact that the production was slightly muddy, mostly on the vocals. I felt they could be a little crisper. This gripe is completely negligible, as everything else is absolutely top notch. There are tricky little drum bits and intricate guitars without compromising the toughness and sheer viciousness of this album. It leaves you fully satisfied, yet begging for more. If you thought the Swedish death metal style was on the outs, Centinex will change your mind. Fans of Grave and God Dethroned will love this one, and those disappointed by newer Swedish bands (In Flames, Soilwork) will find in Centinex a new lord and master. This is the best album of its kind since Slaughter of the Soul, buy it now or be left in its sadistically glorious dust.