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4 stars For those who are not that close, geographically speaking, DECIBEL still is an underground, independent music project, that has survived in an almost unexistent non-mainstream music scene, in a highly restless but money enslaved and deprived country like mine (Mexico).

For anyone who may not know, DECIBEL's founding members, Carlos Robledo and Walter Schmidt have "founded" other music projects. Of the ones I have been aware of , one a true to Punk styled band named "SIZE" (1980) and another a neo-romantic combo named "Casino Shangai" (1990), this I mention besides updating those interested, due to the fact that there are some traces, here and there, of these self owned roots, besides of course the obvious and deeply rooted, DECIBEL's primary connection, to Rock in Opposition and Avant Garde stylings.

So to me DECIBEL's "Secuencias Genéticas" , 2016, apart from other reviewers opinions, it is not that far fetched to understand the predominant use of, thanks all Gods, ELECTRONICS!! In fact these remarkable musicians introduced me personaly, back in time, to Progressive Electronics when they were actually happening and in its peak era (the 70's if you wondered).

DECIBEL has never sounded this good, and I am no die hard patriot (as my other DECIBEL review will clearly show), but I am a big Electronic music fan and DECIBEL, again I repeat, has never sounded this good and focused!

Almost flawless, "Terrorist Couple" (track5) is the weak spot of this release, (it just runs a bit too long, 3 minutes would have been more than enough), their music language has absorbed its own and foreign musical influences, blending and simplifying them without losing their well known daring and experimental nature, adding a sound engineering, at last, which amplifies the somewhat hidden details in their music structures, which always have been there, but never recorded this good.

As far as richness in styling, besides, the electronic emphasis and gentle reminders of past brushes with Punk and New Wave, in varied and unique forms and their well known random like compositions, there is also Rock in Opposition chamber like music (track 7 "IRIT"), which reminds me also that this same founding members also presented me Univers Zero, which still is one of my top favorite bands. There is also a cinematic, experimental electronic, mood/tribute to painter J.M. Schmill (track 8 "Schmill") whose works grace and are showcased in this release's physical CD, booklet and cover art.

Bold, bright and dark, and highly refined music compositions, which expand the borders of this sub-genre to unexpected electronic places and some....

**** 4.7 PA stars.

Report this review (#1585479)
Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2016 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Decibel is a legendary Mexican band that has been on the avant-garde scene since the late 70s, with some line-up changes and even a constant change on the direction of their sound. Despite this longevity, they still are not that praised here in my country, they still keep a low-profile and could be considered as an underground band. Fortunately, since the start of this current decade the band reformed and are living a kind of rebirth, with four solid veteran musicians that are still experimenting and creating music.

Schmidt, Robledo, Vivanco and Eisenring have put lot of time and passion to this project, taking countless elements from each musician's roots and musical tastes, so in every Decibel album from this decade we can find different sounds and tendencies. Their latest release is the wonderful Secuencias Gen'ticas, which saw the light on 2016, a 8- song album that surprises us from track to track, sharing an eclectic work in which the electronic sound plays a truly important role.

It opens with 'Krampus', and since the very first seconds we will find a clear experimental sound, with some RIO hints, dark atmospheres, some classical nuances made by piano, guitar riffs here and there and those electronics that mark the so called rhythm. 'Sogo' is like a track for a horror film. The atmosphere is so dark, there is not an existent rhythm here, just some noises that appear and disappear. It is a quite experimental track that shows the first contrast from song to song.

With 'El velo de Isis', the electronic sequences return. There is as well a dark atmosphere, but this time I found some kind of oriental flavor on the music, which by the way is shared in Bardo Thodol, an Eisenring-Vivanco side project. We can notice the sound of the guitar and also there is a subtle but nervous bass sound, well, at least I think it is the bass. 'Atlantis' does not show a rhythm as the previous track, this one has some strange noises that might take us to a desolated place, I mean, one can close the eyes and let your mind be taken by the sound of this track, and you will reach some uncertainty and even feel some kind of fear. This is probably the most difficult track off the album.

Once again Decibel delights us with a remarkable contrast, because after that chaotic track they chose to follow it with 'Terrorist Couple', which has a 30-second intro and then it will immediately take you to those far post-punk ages. The song might be repetitive but it is actually addictive, here Mr. Schmidt helps with his voice (not singing, just speaking) with a megaphone. However, I must say that you will not find it comfortable if you are not in the mood. 't.a.r.d.i.s.' brings back the experimental tunes, but this time my mind travels to space, maybe influenced by simply by the name of the song, which leads me to sci-fi thoughts. During the track I imagine that machine having maintenance because it will has a tough trip.

'Irit' is a piece I love because it might be the closest one to those RIO or avant-prog lands, reminding me a bit of Univers Zero, with the difference that this music was made by keyboards and electronics, not by the usual chamber rock instruments. The album finishes with 'Schmill' which confirms their love and tribute for painter Jos' Manuel Schmill, whose paintings has been used for some of the bands covers. In this track there are just some noises that work as background while Schmill's voice shoots some interesting phrases.

What a great album this is, not for everyone, not for every mood, but man, once again it is clear to me that these four experimental musicians have still a lot to share. My final grade, four stars.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#1769913)
Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2017 | Review Permalink

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