After seven incredibly long years, Santa Cruz, CA tech-death luminaries Decrepit Birth return with their new album, Axis Mundi. The highly anticipated followup to 2010's Polarity and fourth album to date doesn't disappoint; it features all of the fast, technical brutality that distinguished Decrepit Birth on their 2003 debut ...And Time Begins, and also incorporates some of the progressive structures and elaborate melodies that defined 2008's Diminishing Between Worlds.
But while Polarity was a natural transition into more intricate and melodic realms, Axis Mundi takes things back to their more aggressive death metal beginnings. Tracks like "Vortex of Infinity" and "Transcendental Paradox" feature a barrage of discordant riffage and pulverizing blasts, as well as Bill Robinson's iconic soul-crushing gutturals. Yet, Decrepit Birth still maintain the progressive aspects of their later sound. Stunningly composed tracks like "Spirit Guide" and "Epigenetic Triplicity" contain some of Matt Sotelo's most dazzling, yet disorienting, guitar work.
Axis Mundi thoroughly surpasses expectations; it's the next logical step in Decrepit Birth's continuing evolution, while also a nod to their past. The album is intense and brutal, without abandoning their distinct progressive flourishes and brilliantly thoughtful songwriting, which have become key aspects of their identity. It took seven years, but Axis Mundi was entirely worth the wait. (Nuclear Blast)