The Ancient Brethren
Having been around since 1991, Decayed is probably one of the earliest black metal bands that come out of Portugal. The Ancient Brethren is the band’s 9th full length release in their 20-odd year career, and now with members such as Tormentor (of Desaster) fame in the lineup, the band is stronger than ever, with an equally strong release to match.
An atmospheric intro greets the listener, as the opening track Accursed surrounds the listener with the sounds of nature, and the rumbling thunder in the background quickly bodes ill, along with the ominous tolling of the bells. Ancient Abgal gets Decayed off to a rather slow start, with the band taking its time to build up the climax and tension that is in the air. The pace that the band goes at is rather mid-paced, and the riffing not too urgent (though the band does present some form of chaos with the frantic leads in the middle of the track).
But this is hardly representative of the band’s style as things quickly escalate with Blood Flows and all hell starts to break loose. The urgent and somewhat thrashy pace that the band at times goes at is rather reminiscent of Norwegian greats such as Urgehal and Endezzma, though the atmospherics that the band indulges in also reminds one of Darkthrone and Finnish bands like Horna and Satanic Warmaster. That said, perhaps the most prominent influence on Decayed‘s The Ancient Brethren is Bathory, and throughout the album there are many moments where the band proudly displays this, such as the rather viking feel that the band at times invokes like on Destroying Their Reign. Songs like Symbol of Deceit even reminds one of Raise the Dead in the riffing style at the start of the track, further strengthening that Bathory resemblance.
The band also keeps up the atmospherics throughout the entire album, with the entire album drowning in a rather thick and filthy atmosphere. There are even interludes such as Chasm of Fire, creating a rather ritualistic atmosphere and further reinforcing the themes of occultism on the album, with closing track XIII being epic as fuck.
Decayed‘s newest effort proves that over the years, the band has not lost any of their old school touch, and The Ancient Brethren is an album that would surely appeal to all fans of old school black metal, from the pioneering style of Bathory to later influencers of the genre.