|#FOR FANS OF: Heavy/Groove/Thrash Metal|
With a logo reminiscent of what adorns the average Marvel comic book shining in the night's sky above an otherwise empty street, save for the buckets of blood soaking the pavement, Decatur attempts to cover lot of ground in this first album of rough-and-tumble heavy metal. Though “Internal War” immediately shows off an aggressive North American metal band, this Toronto trio brings a bit more breadth to its sound than only thrashing guitars and grooving rhythms. Somewhere along the line this band got on a Judas Priest kick and couldn't shake it off when it came time to record a debut album.
“Into the Night” has a great guitar sound to it that takes note of the prickly pace of “Stained Class” era Judas Priest and ups its ante with a fuller thrashing string compliment before it becomes a drawn out verse-chorus singalong. The lyrics, especially in the 'we believe' chorus hit with the sharp cheddar that will make you cringe enough to turn the volume down though the guitars will make you want those decibels to rise. Some bands just have a tougher time getting away with their cringy moments, but what comes after this song deeply cuts into one's personal sense of shame and drags it out for all the world to see. The guiding riff in “Vegas Girl” has a bit of Pantera's “Walk” flair while playing a fist-pumping NWOBHM sort of song that would give Jezz Torrent and Love Fist a run for their money. In spite of its catchiness, “Vegas Girl” is a song that I'll continuously skip due to the cringe of the vocal delivery where every line comes out as though the vocalist is just yelling 'one, two, three, four, five' over and over. This weird wedgie of down-home heavy metal nestled between two thick sets of bouncing grooves greatly changes the pace and mood of this album as the title track drips with more melty mozzarella in its by-the-numbers hard rock delivery. It's funny how the songs that Decatur chooses to lead with are so out of the general element of this album. Of ten tracks, three are of this oldschool ilk and though they're not as satisfying as the majority of the album, they do stick out like the sore thumbs they are.
Though the band broadens its approach in those seemingly ill-fitting songs, most of this album takes influence from modern groove, metalcore, and thrash sounds in songs like “Worst Enemy”, “Bottled Inside”, “Abaddon”, and “Shatterproof” which kick with a taste of Lamb of God while searching for the right amount of aggression to shake out their grooves. A lick in “Abbadon” will remind you just how ready the twin axe treatment is to split its force and strike from separate directions while rumbling rhythms with small cymbal clinks throughout “Shatterproof” tone back the aggression of “Blood of the Scribe” as they continuously maintain the kit's vicious punch. Even though the break-beat throughout most of “Bottled Inside” comes across as par for the course, the soloing at the end gives the song its memorable moment.
That is a common aspect of 'Badder Than Brooklyn'. The album, for the most part, isn't all that much to write home about but each song has a moment, a standout few seconds that will perk your ears up and make the time worth your while. In “Tear You” it comes at the beginning with a gripping riff before falling to the atonality of anger while “Worst Enemy” ramps up a rolling momentum. Most proficiently done is the instrumental closer, “Internal War pt. 2” where there is not a second wasted or note out of place. When it comes down to it, the vocals just aren't helping to hold down this band's sound throughout the majority of this album with drawn-out choruses that repeat clichéd phrases like 'cross my heart' in a voice that is singing but gravely and not very aggressive but still trying to grab you and rattle you around. The vocals and songwriting definitely do need work and some of the great ideas throughout this album can effectively be expanded on while eschewing some of the less original surplusage.
Decatur's 'Badder Than Brooklyn' is an unusual and somewhat disjointed album on your first listen. Mixing your average heavy metal sound with a thick layer of cheese in the title track, and sprinkling that throughout the first part of the album, stands in stark contrast to the more aggressive groove metal that makes up the majority of this release. In spite of these disparate and disorienting moments, the overall ability of these musicians and their self-awareness to put a spotlight on the hints of greatness they reach in each song that proficiently pull this album together without leaving the listener too far out in the cold. There is plenty of room for improvement but there is also an unmistakable potential here that, with some introspection, can result in a great sophomore album. For now, 'Badder than Brooklyn' stands as a solid beginning. (Five_Nails)
(Self - 2017)