By Gary Wright
Hours Of Decay 'Cascades Of Violence' (2015)
Hours Of Decay is a 5-piece death metal/speed metal band from Des Moines, Iowa. They describe their sound as "Lots of speed, breakdowns and technicality. Mosh pit ready music."
The band's debut album, 'Cascades Of Violence', released in 2015, and recorded at Sound The Slaughter Records based in Des Moines, Iowa, is an 8-track study of brutality that's shy of 20 minutes long. But, don't be fooled by the seemingly short duration of the album, as it packs in more than many bands could fill in twice that length, even while attempting the same musical style. Although the band say their auditory assault is made up of "speed/thrash metal based guitar and metalcore/deathcore drums", to the casual listener most of the songs may have a rather grindcore feel about them. What makes the band's sound different to purely grindcore though, is really that the vocals are not quick-fire gabber-style but instead brooding, paced inveighing that presents an unfailing stream of torment... and the technicality and tempo changes of the drumming that are the machinegun-like soundtrack of a raging war. Therefore, you could describe their sound as more akin to deathgrind, as it does indeed share traits of both death metal and grindcore.
Torey Denson's vocals have a kind of shouted whisper style and are quite low in the mix, but this doesn't detract from the pain and anguish that he is portraying. Lee Goll and Nolan Harding perform churning, frenzied guitar barrages often with a hint of groove without being pretentious. Shawn Kelly offers up some brain-blending bass and intricate play style. Potentially the star of the show is Troy Perez, and this guy's super-fast, technical percussive salvoes are nothing short of bleeding eargasms that can change tempo at an alarming rate. The listener often has to remind themselves that it is in fact a human drummer on this album, made all the more machine-like by the fact that triggers were used during the recording of the album which gives the drums a crisp, defined, precise sound, enforcing them with a sinister cybernetic edge... an element making the band's sound also not too far removed from cybergrind, in some respects.
The opening track is an intro featuring a sample of British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, talking about how he regards the afterlife as a fairy story for people who are afraid of the dark. This short piece spoken through Hawking's trademark voice synthesizer makes the listener uneasy right from the get-go, both with its content and execution.
Distress Call is the first song on the album, opening with guttural guitar and broiling bass, evolving into a downright death metal track.
Hopeless Godless Evil, is really the mosh pit-generator of the album, and features incredible drum work with ever-changing technicality and tempos, catchy lead guitars and brutal vocals. Fellow Des Moines' vocalist Ben Murphy (Murder Earth) guest features on this track to add another layer to the already beast-like vocals.
Gang Raped is the longest song on the album. It has frenzied grindcore guitar parts, blast beats and double-bass fillers galore. Indeed your ears feel like they have been, um, gang raped after the song is over... but in a good way!
Legalize starts with catchy, thrashy, grind-like guitar riffs and scattergun drum offensive, evocative of old Des Moines/Minneapolis grindcore band Anal Blast. During the latter half of the song is the first and only time you'll hear what may be called a guitar solo on the album, but it's a lot less glorifying than that of any '80s/'90s thrash metal band and is there purely to add an enhanced dizzying, vomit-inducing signature.
As Needed For Hate begins with crashing cymbals and groovy bass riffage, fading in to another grindcore-type track with a voice of desperation, frenzied guitar and frenetic drum assaults.
Shark Attack features another Des Moines' vocalist, Tim Sirianni Jr. (Absolute Power), to add an additional element to the caustic vocals. The guitar riffs here are reminiscent of Australian industrial death metal merchant, The Berzerker, which shows just how brutal this band really is. Punchy, churning bass riffs can be heard and makes for ferocious low-end.
Rotting Inside has almost quirky, groovy, grind guitar and bass, interweaved by impeccable double-bass drumming and horrific vocals, to make for an awesome album finisher.
This album is a short, but truly punishing affair that leaves the listener distraught and sobbing hopelessly in the corner. You'll be hard-pressed to find this level of terror and despair portrayed in music, whilst at the same time unnerving precision and intricacy of incredible musicianship, this side of the perceived notion of Hell.
*** I'd like to thank Lee Goll for taking the time to look over this review before its release. ***
Note that this review was written for the [Midwest Mayhem] website, where an edited version of this review is published. The version that you are reading on this page is the original. This review is published on this website with permission.
Hours Of Decay's 'Cascades Of Violence' album is available now on Bandcamp.
Go to Shawn Kelly's (bassist) YouTube channel to see live footage of the band!
Hours Of Decay (Bandcamp)
Hours Of Decay (Facebook)
Hours Of Decay (ReverbNation)
Shawn Kelly (YouTube)