Review: “The Agony Cycle” by Decayer

Tucson, Arizona’s Decayer are a Deathcore quintet who have have had EP “The Agony Cycle” in the works for quite some time. In actual fact, they played a release show for the EP on 31st March, but it wasn’t released until 13th July. That being said, the EP has gained some notable attention with the “Tucson Deathcore Collective” as they like to be known being added to Bleeding Through‘s 25th August headlining show.

Start with a falcon punch into next week, “16 Roses” picks things up at a pace and dives deep, lyrically approaching the death of a sibling. Harrison Burkardt’s vocals range from the caustic through the guttural to the hardcore inspired bark. The band play with a range of styles with the music hitting with wave after wave of high energy attack. There are some melodic Death Metal inspired rhythms, some tech-metal, some metallic hardcore, all infused with blast beats. When the band down tempo for a verse prior to the final chorus flurry, they even touch on a hint of jazz. “Agony” continues the onslaught of riffage, barks, bites and even slams with Burkardt’s vocal range increases to border on a broken glass cocktail while the EP’s title track plays out in ferocious style. There is no doubt that if you’re a fan of “Anger Issues” from Traitors or indeed bands like Bodysnatcher, then you’re pretty much nailed on to love this. The decision to shorten the title of the song from the title of the EP to simply “Agony” seems an odd one, though both word and phrase are used frequently during the song. “Bastard” continues the bludgeoning at breakneck pace with blast beats and driven guitars. The almost hardcore breakdown segments slow the roll before allowing it to bounce back sharply and using a barked hardcore style vocal across the chorus section without dissipating any of the bands energy is a master stroke. It’s clear that the bands axe wielding duo David Scordato and Devon Marr have taken the decision to dial back the gain and take a clean and crisp tone. This means you get much more focus on the guitar technicality and this shows up more with “Grieve”, a song which is the first to feature lead flourishes. The abundance of variety within each track is striking and in the case of “Grieve” there are hints at Death Metal during the chorus bridge and even Metalcore at points. Then everything goes full on slam before the gradual fade. “Monocratic” sees sticksman Taylor Bayless and bassist Keith Huffman underpinning the particularly bouncy guitars and we get those glorious lead flourishes back in the mix. A staccato punch and creep sound in the guitars is designed to bring that touch of horror to the song before the trademark hardcore “Arf. Arf” bark. Atmospheric closer “TCB” starts to slow build but quickly leaps into blast beats and breakdowns with the bands bounce, flow and energy maintained. There is a fluidity about Decayer’s material draws you in, the creativity within the music and the poetry within the lyrics and keeps things going at a relentless pace. The only problem with “The Agony Cycle” from Decayer is that you want “TCB” to be a mid album palette cleanser before the second half kicks in. The production is crisp and clean and each member of the band has their element shine through in its own right. [8.5/10]

Track listing

  1. 16 Roses
  2. Agony
  3. Bastard
  4. Grieve
  5. Monocratic
  6. TCB

“The Agony Cycle” by Decayer is out now via We Are Triumphant

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