“Cloaked In Decay” marks EP number 2 for Grethor. This American black/death metal group plays really twisted music. It’s almost misanthropic; this EP truly sounds like the soundtrack for anyone who hates anything and everything. This is most obvious from the vocals, which hack, wheeze, and scream their way through the EP. Despite offering a variety of different vocal styles, all of them sound bizarre. Of course, this is a perfect fit for the music, which presents unique-sounding sections of excessive dissonance. The guitars are often playing melodies and riffs that are technically unpleasing (though this is the intended effect). It seems that as these guitar lines stray further and further from any sort of standard music theory, the rest of the band also ramps up the intensity, with the drums usually finding a way to blast at inhuman speeds.
The band does spend some time playing more straightforward black/death metal. There’s no shortage of brutal, downtuned riffs on “Cloaked in Decay”. Many of these riffs tend to be consistent 16th note patterns that flow well with the continuous thunder of double bass. As these sections are not the primary focus relative to the dissonant sections, it is understandable why the production is not particularly clean. This EP is on the noisy side of things, with no one instrument really winning the battle. Certain aspects of the drums are quite a bit louder than others (noticeably the ride cymbal), but for the most part, the instruments are jumbled together in a way that will take multiple listens to truly decipher. Nevertheless, this approach to production seems congruent with the band’s musical direction, and you can’t really fault them for it.
Admittedly, I’ve never found much appeal in this style of music. Grethor does execute it well, but it feels like once you’ve heard one album like this, you’ve heard a lot of them. Perhaps that changes with extensive listening of this style, but sometimes the idea of making music that breaks all of the rules is better than the actual result of it. Again, this is no comment against Grethor’s musical quality, as “Cloaked In Decay” accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do.
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All of it
3.5/5 or 70%.
Written by Scott