I have a confession. When I was asked to write the review for Surdus‘ Tarnished By Decay, I didn’t remember that I reviewed one of their songs about a year ago. So imagine my surprise when I hear a re-recorded version of that song on this release. At first I had no idea where/when I listened to the song. Surdus are a South African based Groove Metal band with a lot of symphonic elements. The last time I talked to them, they mentioned these elements being generated by an actual choir and orchestra. How cool is that??
The album opens with Contritum Caelum, a haunting symphonic piece with violins, choirs and sounds of pouring rain. It’s as cool as it sounds trust me. Then it transitions smoothly into A New Kingdom. This song sounded very deathcore, to this humble listener. And it kind of stays on that mid tempo level until the closing minute when you’re blasted with a barrage of blast beats. Resemblance is Dead is up next and it’s still got that whole deathcore sound but does have some groove metal style riffs that kick in halfway through the song. I love the chorus on it too. On March The Saints is up next with even more groovy riffs mixed in with the deathly sound.
Beast of the Sea comes in after a 1 minute instrumental interlude and almost hits the 6 minute mark but manages to not be boring. It’s a groove metal track through and through this time. Although it does get a bit deathly from time to time. Void, Death and Snow is another deathly groovy track that has some chuggy breakdowns that just pop up in the middle of the song.
Then comes Silence will Fall and don’t be deceived. This song is anything but silence. It’s a lot of groove metal riffs and piano leads during the verses. The album’s third instrumental comes after and is almost as haunting as the opening track. This is followed by Strip the Rot. This probably is one of the most, if not the most ferocious song on the album. The chorus does tone down the aggression with a nearly symphonic metal feel. The closing track Weather The Sun is a nice song and has that melancholic, epic, last track vibe that I usually expect from an album closer. It’s not one of the most memorable songs, well not for me but it’s by no means a bad song. It’s actually really cool it just doesn’t sync with me.
Now one thing I didn’t mention through all this was the symphonic element in each song. I didn’t mention it because there are symphonic elements in EVERY song. Some more than others but it’s there. And it’s all so well done. There is not a moment where I felt like the metal was overshadowing the symphonic parts (and vice versa). It’s well done and all the elements blend together perfectly. Not every song on the album has that wow-factor going on, but they are all fun to listen to and I honestly can not even pick out a favorite song from the album. Tarnished By Decay is an album I would recommend to any fan of any form of extreme metal from all parts of the world. Please buy the album from the Bandcamp link above or this one if you don’t want to scroll back up. Support your local rock acts.