Condemner – Burning The Decadent (2018)

Condemner – Burning The Decadent

Condemner return from a brief hiatus with a debut full length that tries to balance the chromatic progressiveness of Omens Of Perdition with the insistent simplicity and brutality of American bands like Embalmer, Cardiac Arrest, and Profanatica. The latter development is chiefly evidenced in abrupt, near-grinding, repetitive riffs terminating on a note of ambiguity; where this device in the hands of above bands often results in a willful fracture of the song, a sort of stream of consciousness irreverence for the riff’s head or tail, Condemner find a way of logically juxtaposing these brazen departures with the immediate and larger body of the song. Burning the Decadent on initial listens may lack some of the fluid, well-tempered dynamic of the demo, but exposure reveals something of far greater import: this is the sound of a band that is fast realizing the subtle distinction between foresight and instinct and how the two seemingly opposing virtues can be brought to exist in harmony.

Burning The Decadent ends with the eighteen minute long behemoth ‘Extinguishment‘, modeled after Incantation‘s album-closing dirges. It offers the first instance of Condemner slowing down, if only relatively, and working through a range of tempos and textures. Doom as writing trope is almost entirely absent from the rest of the album otherwise; doom as oppressive sentiment, however, pervades all. Like Prosanctus Inferi, Condemner are not averse to straying away from the low end; riff lines composed of inverted or jumbled notes from the chromatic scale when played in rapid succession among climbing harmonic registers contribute greatly towards creating a uniformly thick and malicious atmosphere. This “thickness” in fact is the ultimate tribute that can be paid to Condemner; it is a veritable coagulating of one’s immediate soundspace in the presence of this recording, a manifestation almost physical in its urgency of whatever destructive portent the band is trying to convey.

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