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Black metal has gotten far too complicated. "Post-" this, "primitive" that, and "experimental" something or other. Yes, in the vacuum of this particular style, we're living in an age of increased creativity -- but at what cost? There seems to be fewer and fewer "black metal" bands of a higher quality nestled in the center of this larger genre; at this point, most are adventurous artists trying to rediscover their footing or others making some sort of point against the seemingly forced creativity of the modern world. The inspiration is either disingenuous or completely misses the mark, which is what makes the organic approach of bands like Quebec's Spectral Wound so refreshing.

Infernal Decadence, the band's second album, is a homing beacon for wayward souls trying to "find" black metal. As the genre's spectrum grows outward, the central point has a tendency to become obscure, and this album brilliantly beams upward, steadfastly marking its home position. Spectral Wound isn't groundbreaking, but that also isn't the point for bands like this. Rather, Infernal Decadence ferociously fills the cracks which appeared during a lengthy, genre-wide dry spell; the idea of "black metal" itself becoming an arid desert surrounded by curated, verdant forests of adventure. This is a pure distillation of black metal: melodious, riff-centric, and vicious. Rediscover black metal's center before finding its fringes.

Infernal Decadence will be released in early June by Vendetta Records. Listen to an exclusive premiere of album opener "Woods From Which the Spirits Once So Loudly Howled" below.

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