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Label: Godz ov War Productions

Date: May 10th, 2024

Don’t you just love it when all there is to know about a record can be deduced from a just a few general details about the band? When it’s perfectly predictable, so you can just kick back and enjoy what’s to come out from the set of speakers. So, here’s the deal. “Death Darkness Decay” is the debut full length album by Putrified, a death metal band hailing from Sweden. Need I say more?

Actually, I do. Mostly because Putrified is not your typical Swedish death metal band. Doesn’t matter if they’re signaling that unmistakable guitar sound already in the opening of the first track. That’s the closest they’re going to come. Well, that and a number of melodic passages that shine through at times.

However, the biggest impact on the complete image of this record comes from the “ghoulish” segments. In fact, what you get to hear are the subtle infusions in the classic death metal genre. Namely, the quite natural ingredients of doom and black metal. Quite in the vein of Dead Congregation and Necros Christos, most notably, Putrified delves in the higher ranks of thought-provoking extreme metal. At least in the musical sense. I’ll get to the lyrics later, but as far as the sound is concerned, Swedes are thinking outside the box. The box being Gothenburg/Stockholm in the early nineties. The six tracks on “Death Darkness Decay” are combining styles that are long ago proven to go hand in hand easily.

Unfortunately though, crossing these lines gets out of Putrified’s hands. Concretely speaking, the album goes all out in underlining a certain cryptic atmosphere that is supposed to be its strongpoint. Especially with the daunting use of an organ, which sets a lot of the tone even if set at the background. And for most of the record they are fairly successful in atmospheric layering. Albeit, there are moments where the band submits to groove and catchiness which are somewhat out of place here. Frankly speaking, when you go through “Locust Temple”, a heavily black metal infused doom/death metal maelstrom, plus the pummeling “The Sphere of Man”, you fall quite flabbergasted at “Vermin”. Though it promises by its title, it opens with a melancholic “Intermissio” only to kick in with the relatively modern groove that dominates the song despite not being the only thing that can be found within. Silver lining could be that it is neatly combined to make a natural flow between the two aspects of the song. But it still aligns a bit off from the rest of the record.

“Son of Perdition” grants another hint into the unforseen for Putrified. The second half of the track almost digs into power metal with that virtuously performed guitar solo coupled with fast paced drumming. Apart of it, the sheer melodious catchiness of the tune vastly supersedes the death metal side of things. Again, the band manages to make it work, the song itself is an ear candy, but it still sticks out like a sore thumb. 

Also, Putrified varies the tempos throughout, making for a dynamic listening session whenever you spin the album. There’s an amplitude, in this regard, which keeps one alert. Plus, the songs are quite gripping and the combination of styles sort of displays the band’s agility and desire to leave a footprint on the genre. Thus, even if the band is almost fifteen years old, “Death Darkness Decay” is still their first full album and for a debutant, a fairly good one. 

As I’ve explained, the band’s output needs tweaking and tuning to grant the maximum for the next attempt. Musically, but also in terms of lyrics. Concretely, the first thing that made me think of Necros Christos was the dividedness of three out of six songs on the record. They are split into two or three pieces, making a sort of a conceptual work out of individual tracks. In that regard I would’ve expected lyrics to follow to a certain depth of spiritual experience. These tracks are not there yet, though Putrified most certainly isn’t a band that would take its lyrics lightly. Therefore, there’s substance, more than enough if it, but there’s also room to embellish the next time around. 

I could easily conclude this review by pointing out that Putrified is what Dead Congregation would sound like if they tried their hand at Swedish death metal. Of course, with a few twists and turns, but the basic gist is that “Death Darkness Decay” is an unusual record performed with usual tools. Putrified is on to something here.

 

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