DECIPHER - Intuition

Decipher - Intuition

7 songs
35:36 minutes
***** ****
(self-released)

Bandpage

Active since 2012, Decipher from Luxembourg have waited until now to come up with their debut longplayer Intuition. And although I have come across their name before, they have kept so far a low profile, probably in order to fine-tune their sound, because what you get to hear on their first album exceeds by far the expectations you usually have for a newcomer band.

Intuition comes with seven tracks, one of which is a short instrumental, and is at not even forty minutes a rather short affair, but as Slayer proved already way back with Reign In Blood, itís the quality and not the quantity that matters. Also it is meant to be some kind of concept album, about the discovery of the self, but after reading the explanations of the lyrics, I guess itís more philosophy than I can take on this Saturday morning where I am writing this review.

So letís start at the beginning, with the opener The Alchemist which has a rather esoteric sounding ambient intro which after one and a half minute segues into finest modern progressive metal, with djent-y guitar riffs soaring over the still present synth bubbles. Soon the vocals join in: deep, guttural and evil. Thatís something the young audiences like today, as shown by other excellent local extreme progressive metal bands like Retrace My Fragments and Soulhenge, and it becomes obvious very early on that despite only being newcomers, Decipher donít have to hide behind these more seasoned bands.

The following Liquid Pain doesnít need an intro and gets right to the point with its complex riffing, but also shows impressive technical guitar solos, and it is really refreshing to hear how Decipher donít only rely on staccato rhythms but also find a lot of room for melodic parts that furthermore underline their progressive orientation. Morbid Dream goes into a progressive death metal direction, like early Cynic or Pestilence, and proves once again how well these young men master their craft so early on in their career. This track ends with a lengthy ambient outro, giving the impression that the first three songs form something like a triptych.

Next up, Soulbound starts very mellow, before a soulful female voice joins in, and behold, this is then something completely different. If at first it sounds like another interlude, it soon turns into a regular song, reminding somewhat of the eerie gothic waviness of The Gathering. Unexpected but really and quite definitely very great! The short instrumental Mind Unfold is followed by the energetic Slave Of The Chapter, another fine example of modern progressive metal with a punch. The album ends on the nine-minute long epic LíOr Bleu, showing that Decipher also know how to work their way through a long track.

I dare say that I have never heard a better debut album coming from a local band. Despite their young age, Decipher are already acting like true professionals. The musicians are top knotch: the guitars excel in the complex rhythm work as well as in the melodic excursions, the bass guitar sometimes surprises with witty interventions, and the drums keep it all together. Add to this the vocals that should appeal more to the extreme metal fan base than to those who like their vocals more melodic. Recorded by Xavier Hofmann Ė who plays in Mindpatrol who share a guitarist with Decipher Ė Intuition comes with a really powerful and transparent sound that allows the listener to unravel even the most hidden detail. Progressive extreme metal rarely sounds more exciting than on this amazing debut album!

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