MICK MERCER webzine
THE DECADENT REQUEIM
This works, and no mistake, and if you’re into noise it’s got to be on your list, because while I find they are holding themselves back by adhering to certain attacking postures, it’s often brutally effective, like Deathrock set on permanent stun. There’s more to them than the constant onslaught of straining vocals and a meaty programmed beast, which I believe shows how much more they’re capable of, but this all throbs like a genuinely angry angst adventure, which is what most people want.
It’s during the swaying chorus of ‘In-Toxic-Nation’ that the vocals make me think of children in a playground casually chanting about world destruction, and that’s very, very cool somehow. Normally they sound like a reptile house would be if the animals could complain loudly, and as they fling this barbed, rasping sound at you the guitar keeps curiously respectful, letting the beats have the rougher edge, which keeps them sensibly away from many bands who have such a sleekly cultivated image, where a band always seems to look like someone’s else’s idea of a band. In fact Tragic Black don’t even look particuarly nautral - too clean, too posed, like models on their own sleeve.
‘Circuit 3’ maintains this same seething racket, and although ‘Surreal Catharsis’ is equally full throttle they allow calm guitar to step in providing much needed respite. ‘Suburbian Dystopia’ is just mental, the vocals all but frantic throughout a goth-encrusted punk lament with a cute smudgy synth section, and ‘Incinerate’ then twinkles in a filthy pop way, part scurvy, part sinuous mischief.
‘Mad Hatter’ is spacier and nicely eerie, with a Rozz-like sensuality, ‘The Lost Time’ ticks gently letting melodic frills expand, and yet more Rozzish fizziness (like an organised Deadchovsky) pushes ‘Fading Echoes’ into a furious corner. ‘Faith In Decay’ is a constricted romp, with the guitar all noble and dignified, the vocals hold back for occasional eruptions, and then ‘Elegy’ sees them shaking their brittle bones to implosion-point then flopping about wearily in pauses.
‘Smeared Eyes’ is a leisurely trail over broken guitar and snappy vocals which is interesting because it twists and flails with many attractive elements exhibited. This shows how they can also move towards an area where plain fury simply isn’t required. ‘The Decadent Requiem’ is an exorcism made fun, shrieking but watchful passages intertwined, ‘Parasitism’ scampers away on a speedy rhythm with a diligent vocal spew and ‘Holding Hands’ is bubbling electronic wrath with a very funny sample at the end which finishes the album brilliantly. (There is also a secret track with alien backwards talking although it goes on a bit and you’ll be bored.)
The three videos included, of ‘Circuit’, ‘Faith In Decay’ and ‘Synthetic Primal’ are pretty crap but the booklet is stunning with a brilliant layout and superb visuals and just makes it all perfectly adorable, horribly combustible and just on the right side of insane.