Review Summary: Hardcore does not need high-tech quality to be great. Carrion prove this with "A Short History of Decay", delivering a very impactful collection of chaotic, axe-slinging, emotional hardcore.
I have now discovered another album that is actually worth my time. I feel that bands such as Saetia and You and I have spoiled me - setting a standard far too high for many newer bands in the "emo/hardcore/whatever" scene to reach. Well, this Carrion Spring album has done the trick.
The album is sectioned out between six instrumental tracks, all of which are entitled "Selah", and numbered. This is somewhat unique. Rather than stereotypically giving us one interlude halfway through the album's runtime, Carrion delivers bursts of emotional and passionate energy, each few songs being separated by beautiful, harmonic melodies and experimental sound.
The opening track, "Selah I", is a mere repetitive melody (which is frantic and almost furious, reminding me slightly of something Portraits of Past might have attempted). Not a bad way to open an album that will be forever lost in the "new wave of emo". We hear those drumsticks click, and suddenly, we are cast into a deathstorm of thrashy, noisy drums, angry yet controlled guitar work, all accompanied by static-laden quality and an overall manic feeling. The vocals are difficult to hear at times, and while this is so common in underground hardcore, it is not irritating, and is a rather nice touch. It manages to mesh nicely with the in-your-face tornado of music.
The first two tracks, "Neck Romancer" and "Year of the Carrion" (Hmm...where did that name come from"), give you a straight-forward look into the band's tightly knit soundscape, all of which is pulled together without the aid of high-tech quality or mixing. These songs are messy, changing tempo rapidly, pausing abruptly: As with most bands of this genre, it is safe to say, you will never know what to expect.
Carrion Spring beats out sincere, emotional chaos with this album. A true representation of what "emo" should be these days. I believe that high-quality recording merely takes from the passion and true outpour of hardcore music, rather than being a benefit.
All in all, while this album may seem a bit repetitious at times (though the interludes will keep you interested, if the band's wonderful musicianship doesn't please you), the unique guitar work, catchy tempo changes, and overall chaotic outpour of fury will be heroin for any "emo junkie", like myself. Carrion ring true to bands that helped establish this genre (Indian Summer, You and I, Saetia, others). This album speaks for itself.