Concept albums love them or loathe them I think they are a brilliant staple in what I would consider to be a healthy musical diet. The reason being is that they perpetuate the ritual of listening to albums in full, whilst this impression is likely held high in the Metal and other Alternative scenes it is something perhaps more lacking in mainstream culture. Albums should never be written for one song and when an album is strung together through a winding tale the interest from the listener grows.
Headed up by multi-instrumentalist A of Merrimack fame and including band members of Temple Of Baal, Decline Of The I have a good background. Released through Agonia Records these French Black Metallers bring their conceptual trilogy to a close with Escape. The trilogy which began in 2012 with Inhibition follows the works of the French surgeon come philosopher Henri Laborit who’s works delved into studies of the human brain. With this macabre subject matter Decline Of The I aim to encompass this story through the medium of Black Metal.
First impressions of this release are all positive amongst the bleak Post-Black Metal surroundings, tinged with a dashing of modern Black Metal riffs lingers a certain atmospheric tone. Cutting, ever evolving Black Metal rasps swirl amid the at points experimental fray generating a feeling that is in an obscure way harmonious. I guess the harmony may be found in the more choral sections of Organless Body or the dissonant spoken word passages of Negentropy (Fertility Sovereign) either way this is Post-Black Metal that doesn’t mess about.
Touching further on the more Post elements we have a snippet of the experimental, particularly in the aforementioned Negentropy (Fertility Sovereign) which to me is one of the best tracks on Escape. The light piano of this track is overlaid with practically Electronic beats that when topped with Blackened vocals create a musical dimension of utter tranquillity and stupendous composition. We cannot forget also the hypnotic ending of Je Pense Donc Je Fuis a Classical passage of pure beauty that drags this trilogy to a perfect close.
What Decline Of The I have done here is create a release that not only fits in its own trilogy but one that stands solitary. Whilst it is momentous to gather these three works together and listen to them as one symphony Escape is in its own right a wondrous album that can be enjoyed without its counterparts. On a personal note I hope this does not mark the end for Decline Of The I, I truly hope that more can be developed for this fantastic Post-Black Metal project.
(8/10 George Caley)