All music composed and performed by Decayor. Engineered, mixed and mastered in Firetech Studios, Donegal by Kevin McCloskey and Decayor. CD kayout and photography by Grace Kennedy.
- Pauric Gallagher—Voice, guitars, keyboards
- Kevin McCloskey—Bass guitar
- Gary Byrne—Drums and percussion
- Stir of echoes
- Veil of despair
- The sacred heart is bleeding
- Weeping willows
Last week was a rather busy one for me so I managed only to listen to the first two tracks of this EP all week. The last 24 hours has been a bit of a Decayor-fest.
My excuse? Well, I went back to work for a couple of full days on my phased return to work, and then I looked after our three boys (5, 5 and 3) from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon while my wife was in Northern Ireland. Which, rather conveniently, is where Decayor hail from. The album, which appears to be self-financed and released, reveals that it was recorded in Donegal in the west of Northern Ireland—south west of Derry, due west of Belfast.
The only other Northern Irish metal band that I have in my collection, that I can think of straight away, is Therapy? So it’s good to hear something else from there.
First up, the CD artwork is fabulous, which is really surprising given its homemade nature. It looks far more professional than many a release. There’s a mournful atmosphere to the cover artwork, alongside the almost obligatory illegible band title. All that lets it down is the off-the-shelf font for the album title.
This album is a curious mixture of death and doom metal influences. There are the slow, ponderously heavy riffs fused with gruff, shouty vocals. There are moments that hold a funereal soberness next door to thrashing riffs of fury.
There may only be four tracks on this EP, but boy! do they know how to craft long songs. The atmospheric piano and keyboards opening track “Stir or echoes” lasts only 1′ 20″ but that’s then the only sung under nine minutes long!
“Stir of echoes” ends with a peal of thunder than rolls into track two “Veil of despair” that reminds me in equal part of early Paradise Lost and early Candlemass. It clocks in at an epic 12′ 06″.
There is definitely a prog element of these songs. “Veil of despair” for example moves into a steady, clean arpeggio that then builds through to a heavier and darker riff and death metal growls. I’m not entirely convinced of the transition but it gets the job done. And to complete the bell curve, around nine minutes in the band returns to the original riff again. It’s quite a journey and while I did wonder on my first listen whether they had tried to cram in too many ideas, on subsequent listens I’ve quite enjoyed it.
Track three, “The sacred heart is bleeding”, has a rather pleasant riff. Definite echoes of early Paradise Lost again, right down to the growling vocals. This song has dynamics, crushing guitars and melody. There is a moment around halfway through the song where as part of the riff it sounds like Gallagher strums his guitar strings the other side of the nut. I’ve never heard that before in a metal song: good work!
The EP closes with “Weeping willows”, which in many ways is a more straight-forward, lamentful doom metal song… until it picks up some pace around halfway through but even then it doesn’t lose its doom-esque timbre. Again, references to Gothic (1991)-era Paradise Lost are easy to make.
When I started listening to this EP I was a little hesitant, uncertain about what I might hear. But I was very pleasantly surprised. This is a keeper for me.
Sure, there were a few moments that didn’t excite me but overall I can see beyond those to the larger picture and all in all this is a pretty decent collection of death/doom metal from the UK.
Review score: 80%