Arguably the premier extreme metal magazine in North America, the folks over at Decibel began a tour tradition in 2012 that has become an annual must-attend event. Each year’s installment has thus far shown a keen selection of representatives from all of extreme metal’s facets that include seasoned veterans as well as blossoming young talent. Last year’s tour was particularly stacked, boasting not only the popular melo-death stylings of The Black Dahlia Murder, but inclusions from two spectacular death metal elder-statesmen whom has just released some of their best material the year prior (Carcass with Surgical Steel and Gorguts with Colored Sands). Rounding out the bill was Noisem, a young Baltimore quartet that has just burst onto the scene with their own 2013 offering, being the lauded aural evisceration of Agony Defined. Of course, as is pondered with every instance of fresh talent, it seemed appropriate then to wonder if the band’s classic death/thrash fusion would retain its luster on their sophomore album. However, just a few moments with Blossoming Decay – the manifestation of that musing – makes it abundantly clear that Noisem plan on proving their worth and then some for years to come.
Noisem’s take on death/thrash takes influence from the ferocious grindcore tinged bursts of (early) Napalm Death and Repulsion and the riff-minded talent of Slayer. Noisem are essentially Cretin with younger members and a shorter attention-span. Related to this last point is the prominent punk sneer that permeates Noisem’s approach; a certain loose and abrasive attitude that allows the intensity of the aforementioned influences to shine through without seeming derivative nor rigidly performed. There may be a consistent sonic theme on Blossoming Decay, but each track provides a seemingly brand new reason for the listener to demolish whatever remains of their surroundings after the Noisem induced adrenaline rush. With sixty percent of the track listing hovering around the two minute mark, Noisem capably package unbridled aggression and attention to detail within compositional austerity. This ensures that the rifeness of blast beats and blistering riffs serve as both engaging listening as well as devastating pit stirrers.
There are three lengthier tracks that appear on Blossoming Decay as well, with their placement acting as bookends – throttling opener “Trail of Perturbation” and closer “Blossoming of the Web” – and an interlude of sorts, being the superb “Cascade of Scars.” Easily the strongest of these three fleshed out tracks, “Cascade of Scars” begins with a noise-ridden atmosphere of dread comparable to Full of Hell’s forays into noise, which creates enough suspense to absolutely catapult the second half’s assault into action. Admittedly, this track is not truly different from its brethren, as the opening passage feels more like an interlude spliced onto a standard Noisem track. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it does leave the listener with a desire for Noisem to stretch their chops and craft a track distinct from their traditional sound. They are clearly capable of composing the parts and would benefit from a track or two on their next album which stands apart from the rest.
Of course, “the rest” is an excellent bundle of violent, twisted tunes hellbent on barraging the listener with more reasons to thrown down than can be ignored. Noisem present a sort of self-aware maturity with Blossoming Decay; a reverence for both the formative members of their genres and a youthful spirit intent on delivering those core influences in as invigorating a way as possible. Blossoming Decay may have squashed the doubtful question introduced in this review’s opening, but it raises the new question of what album number three will do to further Noisem’s already solid reputation.
Noisem – Blossoming Decay gets…