1998 saw the first and only release of new material from Canadian Death Metal outfit Decerebration. Now, just over two decades on, and they are finally back with the new release, Follow The Scars, and it’s a delightfully brutal and engaging offering.
Decerebration: Follow The Scars (Self-Release)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Jools Green
“We started in the early ’90s,” the band said. “We were kids that didn’t know what they were doing besides writing what we thought were good Death Metal songs with typical Death Metal lyrics. More than 20 years have passed since our last release of new music, and we wanted to show how we have evolved as persons and musicians.
“We wanted to stay true to our old school Death Metal roots while adding new elements to our music such as clean vocals. We really like the music we were able to write for the new album. We think old fans and new fans will find something for them in our new songs, and we can’t wait for them to hear the album.
“Follow The Scars is also a look into our personal lives over the past twenty years lyrically. The lyrics are not the typical Death Metal lyrics we used to write. Not because we want to deny our past but because we wanted to talk about the issues we faced in our lives.
“Just like the music, the lyrics are a product of how we have matured and evolved as human beings and musicians. We wanted the lyrics to reflect that.”
Sound-wise, Follow The Scars still maintains contact with Decerebration’s old school Death Metal roots, but they’ve brought the sound into the twenty-first century, adding slammy riffs, guitar harmonies and something they describe as evolutionary twists. Add to that the ground-shaking growling vocal delivery, which has that wonderful old school brutal edge, and you end up with a winning combination.
There is a lot about Follow The Scars which suggests a journey involving a great deal of undoubtedly cathartic soul-bearing. Opening with Scorched Memories, an eerie instrumental which represents someone entering their own mind not being able to let go of the past and what’s dragging them down. This leads into the old school tinged Infamous Duality, which looks at having to choose between a comfortable but unhappy life and leaving that comfort to live the life you are meant to live. A straightforward, hugely engaging, brutal chugger of a track.
A Ghost Of Flesh And Blood is another brutal old school chugger with an ear grabbing swathe of second half leadwork elevating the track, which this time tackles the subject of personal relationships, in particular being with someone that is not good for you while at the same time being around another person that would be right for you.
Title track Follow The Scars might throw a few old fans briefly. It’s the first to feature the clean vocal element, but it’s only a small highlight, and it serves as an interesting contrast to the growls and sits well with the subtle melodic element. I like the way the track starts off thrashy then progresses into a heavier, more brutal slam influence to the sound, but with the thrashy side still lurking beneath the surface. Lyrically, this looks at going through a traumatic event, like sickness, beating it and coming out stronger than you were before.
I love the straightforward approach to Break The Cycle. It has an up-tempo drive but also has groovier elements, tantalising twists and melody but still manages to be a brutal beast at the same time. Probably my favourite track of the album if I’m forced to choose.
The Factless Prophecy is an interesting track. Lyrically written in the midst of Covid-19 about people being mindlessly led by political leaders and accepting everything as fact without questioning, but written around riffs laid down and unused for over two decades. Musically it’s another superb listen, and it’s good to hear great riffs being dusted off and used, and the closing leadwork is rather impressive too.
The Gift Of Anger looks at using anger as a tool to better yourself and “ascend” to another level instead of self-destruction. I love the contrasts on this track. On the one hand, it’s a heavy as hell crusher that bulldozes its way along, but it also weaves a complex journey and features cleans again, but with a different approach to their delivery, manifesting as an interesting vocal bridge and vocal harmonies.
The penultimate track, I Despise, is another engaging piece. It’s musically and lyrically brutal because it’s about realizing that you are responsible for staying in a bad relationship for years and not doing anything about it, and Decerebration say it like it is. It’s both heavy and thrashy and with a heavy as hell breakdown midway through, out of which a maniacal drum battery bursts forth, bringing the pace back to its former heavy thrashing format, closing on an interesting clean chorus which adds a surprising extra texture to the close.
The final piece L.T.E.I, which is an abbreviation for Libera Temet Ex Infernis, meaning “free yourself from hell”, is an instrumental closer that has a superb, dark and haunting, slightly eerie beginning. It ends as if you are stepping out into a bright sunny day, in many ways tying in with the opener and bringing the album around full circle to a brighter conclusion.
If you aren’t familiar with Decerebration but enjoy the likes of Suffocation or Cannibal Corpse, you should find this an interesting and rewarding listen, and you can’t fail to be inspired by the positivity out of adversity message behind the release either.
Available from Decerebration.bandcamp.com/ as a digital release and CD and to listen from various streaming platforms.