Saturday, March 5, 2011

Repent - Disciple of Decline (2004)

Repent's Y2K debut Escape from Reality was a moderate dose of US styled thrash, very West Coast in style. Unsurprisingly, not much became of it, as there were far more exciting things happening at the time in the genre, like various reformations of classic bands. Four years later, though, the Germans would give it another shot with a similar sound and a better execution. The mix is cleaner here, the guitars more powerful and the writing more memorable, and though it's hardly something I'd go out of my way to track down, it's a firm statement in the vein of lost bands like Excel, Acrophet, and I even hear some similarities to Anthrax and Japan's Ritual Carnage, the latter in the ruthless steadiness of the riffing broth and the vocal style used here (similar to Danny Carnage though not as high pitched).

There are definitely some points where this sophomore peaks and becomes something more than average. Once the smoke of "Trapped" and "Course for Power" has cleared, the audience straining its necks with a cautious approval, they burst out into the title track, which is admittedly pretty great, thick early Pestilence-like chords and leads joined by a nice chorus with a great vocal delay. The remainder of the track list is mixed, though: "Thrash Attack", "Business Whore", "Life is Lost" and the punkish "Anarchy" are all forgettable, but both "World Supremacy" and "Mendacious Peace" are delivered with vibrant velocity; "Sake of Living" is slower, moodier, and successful in its push for atmosphere, and "The Undead" is rugged and brutal despite its lack of truly gripping guitar riffs. The musicianship is not nearly as intense as it might be, with the band settling in for tight riff patterns above technical flexing, which is a little unusual since their abstract cover art has always given me the impression they'd be more inclined towards progressive flourishes.

Of their two albums, Disciple of Decline is clearly the better choice, but it's just not consistent enough to warrant a recommendation with so much other thrash of both the 80s and 21st century destroying it. At best, Repent had about an EP's worth of headbanging onslaught here that they packed into some rather mediocre cellophane filler and shipped out to an audience that often dazzles me by demanding nothing other than authenticity. This is pure late 80s styled thrash that will best appeal to fans of Evildead, D.R.I., Vio-Lence and Exodus, but it doesn't have the same charm for me. The Germans are still plugging away, 20 years into their career, with a demo released a few years ago, so we'll have to see if they maintain this approach or alter course to something more loaded and intense next time out.

Verdict: Indifference [6.75/10]

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