Decoherence has kept a steady slow of music coming since 2019, sometimes putting out multiple EPs in a single year alongside their full lengths. Early on the band established themselves as a band that pulled heavily from the dissonant and industrial leaning side of black metal, bringing in everything from Godflesh to Blut Aus Nord’s colder, machinelike moments. With each release this approach has been refined and tweaked, and for album number three this once again holds true. The songwriting on Order provides plenty of twists and turns, moving from methodical industrial rhythms into blasting black metal and even some hints of death metal. But the production has gotten denser and feels a bit more violent and scorching compared to some of the colder, isolationist tones of its predecessors, making Decoherence’s latest a punishing effort that will take a few times through to fully get a feel for.
Ekpyrosis and Unitarity had their fair share of layers to peel back, but Order seems built to be as dense and noisy as possible. Opener “Closed Timelike Curves” builds up slowly for its first minute or so with bursts of electronics and tense atmosphere before it unleashes a maelstrom of dense blasting that hits the listener with the force of an eighteen-wheeler. Here Decoherence shows a bit more low-end density that falls into black/death metal territory more so than traditional black metal, but only a few minutes later they’ve moved back into slower, methodical rhythms that feel like a cross between Godflesh and Blut Aus Nord. Where some of their previous material was focused on the much colder, mysterious side of the spectrum, Order seems openly hostile and hits with more blasting and layers of harsher noise than before. It’s one of those albums where it feels like you need to crank it up to max volume to hear some of the finer details underneath the wall being thrown at you, but there are interesting nuances to be discovered if you do so. Admittedly with the density of the production and emphasis on dissonant blasting some moments do blur together, but Decoherence still has subtle shifts to their approach that have kept me interested in coming back for another bludgeoning. “An Unconfined System” and “With No Pre-Existing Direction” showcase Order at its best, as the former lets eerier guitars dance over top of a pummeling foundation while the latter explores the slower, industrial rhythm side of the band’s sound a bit more before a haunting atmospheric outro takes over.
The first taste of vocals you get on “Closed Timelike Curves” comes in the form of distorted screams that are slightly buried underneath the layers of instrumentation, giving off an almost power electronics or death industrial tone. But as the album progresses Decoherence’s vocal work becomes a bit more direct, with a bit less distortion and more straight-up screaming and roaring that’s closer to standard black/death metal. When this transition occurs the performance seems oriented around maximum intensity, as despite still coming in slightly underneath the wall of noise the screams are able to break free and contribute just as much violence as the rest of the band. There are a few sections towards the second half of Order where the consistency of the pitch does result in some repetition, but the twists and turns that the instrumentals offer makes up for it and prevents things from feeling one-dimensional.
Decoherence has always done a good job of capturing that colder, isolated feel that artists like Blut Aus Nord, Godflesh, and Mysticum were able to create. But on album number three they’ve chosen to add even more dissonant layers and orient themselves towards churning layers of all-out violence, hitting even harder than before. At times they approach the levels of destruction and precision of some of the better black/death metal bands out there but retain that methodical industrial sheen. Given the denseness and emphasis on blasting some moments do blur together, but there’s still a lot to unravel here that will appeal to fans of the style and Decoherence continues to get better with each release. Order is available from Sentient Ruin Laboratories.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg