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The Art of Decoherence: Where Black Metal and Noise Intersect


The increasingly popular one-man studio project archetype within the international black metal scene has grown continually darker with the passage of time, each consecutive year conjuring entities more secretive, enigmatic, and otherworldly than ever before. While some choose to don cloaks, hoods, or even aliases to hide their identities, some elect to have no identity at all, distributing their material anonymously online or via independent record labels.

Furthering the trend of self-obfuscation within this latter category is the grotesque, soul-ravaging phantasm that is Decoherence, the debut self-titled EP “conceived by an unknown entity from the UK.” Signed by the ineffably consistent treasure trove of bizarre underground creations that is Oakland’s Sentient Ruin Laboratories, essentially all that is known about Decoherence is their country of origin and their name. These extremely esoteric qualities are not to be taken lightly; presenting two tracks of darkly atmospheric black metal on the verge of pure noise territory, the EP hypnotizes all those who meet its gaze as it draws them into the chilling, fathomless void from which it was spawned. Check out a stream of the EP’s first track below.

Consisting of two tracks spanning ten mind-altering minutes, the Decoherence EP immediately assails the listener with claustrophobic walls of decaying static, feedback, and ambient tone, bursting forth into dissonant, warbling tremolo riffs. One quickly realizes that this is the sort of demonically invoked aural cataclysm that is best achieved in the studio, as it prioritizes the manifestation of disorienting textures and evil, inhuman aesthetics above technical song structure and melodic ornamentation – any technicality present in these performances is veiled behind the blasphemously distorted collective noise of the record.

Although its percussion is punctuated by echoing cymbals and near-constant blast beats, and its vocals are burly and repulsively guttural, the EP’s instrumental elements are blended together into a trance-inducing, disorienting cyclone of sound, rendering individual rhythms and lyrics unintelligible. The individual layers can be distinguished from one another when focused upon intensely, but to achieve this one must swim upstream against a roaring, mercilessly abrasive auditory current. Like some gruesome parody of religious worship, however, certain moments of the Decoherence EP crest into gargantuan, fascinatingly suspenseful and unsettling chord progressions that bleed through the madness, almost reminiscent of strangely inverted liturgical hymns devoid of tonal resolutions.

Though it may seem like a fully incomprehensible chasm of sonic hellfire and brimstone, there is a flickering candle of adroit artistry within the Decoherence EP. The outfit has successfully pushed the hideous, frighteningly satanic elements that lie at the core of black metal to their logical extreme without sacrificing an ounce of musical integrity or validity, with truly innovative harmonic examinations of the genre distributed generously throughout the EP. In fact, their eerie, unprecedented patterns hearken back to the lo-fi ambience of the Scandinavian second-wave of black metal but through a decidedly modern filter, nostalgically evoking a bygone era in which the subgenre’s horrifying occult essence was first acknowledged.

Though they have chosen to remain anonymous, Decoherence will undoubtedly earn a rightly deserved measure of attention for their bold and invigorating debut release — those who have lost interest the modern landscape of black metal need only to experience these two sacrilegious tracks to feel that scorching bloodlust ignited within themselves yet again.

The Decoherence EP releases April 5th via Sentient Ruin.

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