While San Francisco is known throughout the metal world as the hometown of many classic thrash bands, it is also the hometown of the much lesser known band Epidemic. Their style is fast and brutal and not the classic sound that typically comes to mind when Bay Area thrash is mentioned. The band's sound was never executed as well as it was on their awesome sophomore album Decameron
It is quite fitting that the dude on the front cover looks like a Scanner, because when you listen to this album you will feel as if your cranium is about to explode into a million chunks at any given moment. That is because Decameron
is essentially an experiment to determine how many brutal riffs and blasting drum beats can be crammed into a 40 minute span. The answer is, well, a lot. Things start off with the song "Circle of Fools" which seems like a nice and pleasant little ditty until the band members reveal their true sinister intentions around 1:50 into the song. Where the band members once held guitars and drumsticks in their hands, they now wield buzz saws and jackhammers. The sound is so punishing and head swimmingly fast that it will at first make you want to run and hide under your bed like Kevin McAllister, but instead morbid curiosity will ultimately get the better of you and you will timidly continue on with your listening experience. This rapid fire approach pops up many other times throughout the album. Songs like "Insanity Plea" and "Tornado" are fast enough that they start and finish before the listener can even make sense of what just happened. Epidemic are not merely concerned with playing at hyper speed for the entirety of this album, however. There is also a lot of emphasis on mid paced groove and chug-filled sections which are interspersed between the aforementioned fast sections, while the song "Factor Red" is entirely mid paced and proves to be one of the highlights of the album.
While the guitarists groove, chug, trem, and do everything in between to thrash their way into your brain, the other band members do their part as well. The vocals rule and they remind me a bit of the vocals on Dreaming With the Dead
but with a harsher edge. The drummer somehow keeps pace with the crazed guitarists and his double bass grooves will flatten you into the ground. I don't really pay attention to the bass much when listening to this album, but the other band members rule so I'm sure he also rules.
If you can withstand the all out assault that the members of Epidemic unleash on you throughout the 40 run time of Decameron
, you will find it to be a highly rewarding listen when all is said and done. It may never have gotten very much attention, but it is as enjoyable as Epidemic of Violence
, Swallowed in Black
, A Shedding of Skin
, and other great stuff that was coming out around that time. Do yourself a favor and give this album a listen if you are a fan of death/thrash.