Released: 2015, Self-released
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Australian quintet Decimatus straddle the fence between groove/modern/thrash metal and metalcore on their self-released debut, and thankfully tend to lean toward the metal side most of the time. At times recalling Pantera, The Haunted or Lamb of God, at others Hatebreed or Shadows Fall, their sound is certainly familiar, but it's also unapologetically brash, ballsy and confident. Moreso than one might expect from the debut album by a band from Down Under.
Decimatus definitely know how to bring the groove. Catalyst For Rage boasts chunky, chugging and surging riffs that just keep coming, buoyed by a crisp, concussive production of Julian Renzo. The band set the tone with the chest-stomping guitars of Booga and Pauly Brammer on the title track – which opens the album - and never look back. “One Foot In The Grave,” the mammoth “Ill Fated” and “Erosion” kick up the tempo a notch and subsequently kick that much more ass.
Yet while the band rarely go full-bore thrash here, the album's pace is consistently brisk. By the same token, the occasional “core”-like moments, notably on “Burning Bridges,” are just that, moments. The band don't waste time building to obligatory breakdowns, and the big choruses on “Ashes To The Urn” and the otherwise mean-ass “Usurper” retain their rough edges as Tommy Jennings merely tempers his attack dog bark instead of getting all croony.
The lone trace of clean vocals is reserved for the epic finale “Death Sentence (With A Plan),” the most technically involved and melodically inclined track on the album. And it's all of about six lines worth. And by then they provide an element of surprise, a momentary diversion from the threats, ultimatums and lamentations about being “fist-fucked by the long arm of the law” Jennings has been hollering for 40 solid minutes.
It's a stirring climax to an otherwise assaultive and eye-opening album that is sure to grab someone's attention at some label somewhere. A band this ferocious and formidable can't stay unsigned forever, regardless of how far off the beaten path they may hail.