Typically when I think of Italian metal, I automatically go to the symphonic power metal put out by the various incarnations of [Luca Turilli’s] Rhapsody [of Fire] with the occasional smattering of death metal. Therefore, it’s a refreshing change of pace for a blackened thrash metal act to come out of Europe’s Boot and prove the Scandinavians and the South Americans don’t have a duopoly on the genre.
Extirpation’s second LP, Wings of Decadence wastes no time establishing the album’s tone with the first track being an actual song and not some instrumental opener. Controlled By Rage is a throat-ripping number full of frenzied riffs and screeching vocals from Alessandro Darak.
Extirpation kicks it up a notch with the second track, Thrash Your Enemies. The song opens with sheer bedlam, and employs at least three different time changes in its sub-three-minute length. Other highlights include the extended solo in the middle of Fall In the Dark, the doom-laden undertones of the title track, and the opening of Consumed Society.
Not everything is all about breakneck speed, though. Desires of Dust is a mid-tempo number that recalls some hardcore/punk influence. While it’s not a favorite track, it adds some much-needed diversity to the album.
Therein lies the album’s only real flaw: While everything on here is well-done, the tracks meld together into a singular soundscape that comes across as all-too-familiar at times. Perhaps I’ve been listening to a lot of this style lately, but there’s a nagging sense of "been there, done that" with this album.
Whatever Extirpation might lack in originality, they make up for in intensity. If you’re a fan of blackened thrash, you at least need to give this a listen. Wings of Decadence is thirty-four minutes of sheer mayhem, and it could have you rethinking any preconceptions you might have about Italian metal.
Special thanks to Nightbreaker Productions for the complementary review copy.