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Decline of the I - "Inhibition" (CD)

Decline of the I - "Inhibition" CD cover image

"Inhibition" track listing:

1. Où se trouve la mort? (2:57)
2. The End of a Sub-Elitist Addiction (10:46)
3. Art or Cancer? (7:02)
4. The Other Rat (7:32)
5. Mother and Whore (7:57)
6. Static Involution (7:55)
7. L'indécision d'être (5:04)
8. Keeping the Structure (9:02)

Reviewed by on November 30, 2012

"'Inhibition' is a nice treat to give yourself when the list of new releases worth picking up this year begins to dry up, or you need a break from the static mess of traditional black metal."

Decline Of The I is black metal in the same fashion that a band like Secrets Of The Moon is, identified as the “post black metal” sub-genre. The band's debut album “Inhibition” brings some welcomed new mechanics into that fleeting sub-genre. The French act is drawn to electronic sounds and sampling, though Decline Of The I does sneak in some American influences like Neurosis. “Inhibition” should be praised for this; however, it doesn’t always work to the band’s advantage.

The band’s major selling point is how they are able to take electronic programming and fit it in with the black metal. This isn’t like “Amnesiac”-era Radiohead mixed with early Immortal, so those tr00 fans can lower their pitchforks. “Art or Cancer?” is the first track to really dwell into the bass-heavy techno grind, and the first half of “Mother and Whore” is supported by mechanics of programmed drums and eerie keyboards. None of it comes off as forced, though there is a certain adjustment period to these elements.

When it boils down to the actual black metal portion of Decline Of The I, it’s not much of a prized affair. The band loves their mid-tempo speeds, only speeding up on “L'indécision d'être” and the last minute or so of “Static Involution.” This can be a drag on the longer songs, like “The End of a Sub-Elitist Addiction,” which at almost 11 minutes is one of the most exhausting tunes to dig into. No other song is quite as off-putting, though this won’t be a paradise of catchiness to the average listener.

It’s always difficult to be able to easily slide into songs that go over seven minutes, and Decline Of The I is big on song lengths over that. There isn’t much dragging, as long as one can handle the electronics dished out by band leader A.K. Neurosis was name-dropped in the first paragraph, and it’s most obvious on the dim intro to “Keeping The Structure.” It’s a gripping closer that includes strong melodic vocals and a thumping bass guitar break worth setting one’s undivided sights onto.

“Inhibition” could be labeled black metal, but the album has a wider range of dynamics than what is associated from the genre. The electronic/techno components could be a turnoff, and there are instances where it distracts and sullies what is otherwise a positive interaction. Aside from that, “Inhibition” is a nice treat to give yourself when the list of new releases worth picking up this year begins to dry up, or you need a break from the static mess of traditional black metal.

Highs: Electronic elements groove with black metal fury, definitely different than much of what the genre has to offer, heavy on the atmosphere

Lows: Longer songs can drag, some may be turned off by the electronic sounds, a few faster moments could have boosted the album up

Bottom line: Decline Of The I takes electronic beats and mixes it with black metal for an effective debut album.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)