Published Aug 05, 2010Santa Cruz, CA technical death metal masters Decrepit Birth have just unleashed their third album and Nuclear Blast debut, Polarity. With the new record, the band's sound has continued to evolve into a more progressive realm, complete with guitar solos and harmonious melodies. But, as guitarist Matt Sotelo tells Exclaim! in a recent interview, their new musical approach has alienated many in their core fanbase.
"There's a difference with our fans; there are some fans that like everything we do, but there are some fans that are just brutal-only death metal heads who don't like hearing guitar solos and don't like hearing the melodies, which is part of what we do now," Sotelo explains.
Decrepit Birth's 2003 debut album, ...And Time Begins, set the bar for technical death metal with fast and intricate guitar work. "For being something brutal and really over the top, I think that first record is a pretty original record," he says. "I think the intensity and the brutality are things that very few bands, in my opinion, have been able to do.
"I've read it online and I even get messages from kids around the world saying, 'Your first album was the best' and 'why don't you guys play like that anymore?' Some people even get really angry about it and are like, 'You guys suck now' and I don't know what to say."
Sotelo says he respects the fans' opinions, but Decrepit Birth are moving on as a band. He explains that the change in their sound was both a conscious decision, as well as a natural shift.
"I think I just grew up and I just realized that's not what music is about; it's not a competition, it's not about how fast and technical you can be," he says. "And so the guitar playing now kind of reflects that and I enjoy having the band actually sound like a band and not just some big giant machine that's just crushing you all the time.
"I wrote some of [the ...And Time Begins] stuff in the mid-'90s; I was just a kid and at the time I wanted to make something that was more technical, because I was really into the whole technical thing back then. I wanted to make something that was more technical than anything at the time, that was my intention."
Sotelo also says that he's happy with the direction that Decrepit Birth have been taking and with the final product of Polarity.
"I think the guitars breath a little more, you can hear what the guitars are doing now and you can actually pick up on the riffs," he conveys. "I think we still have the potential to do some of the most brutal stuff ever, but it's just that we don't want to do it all the time. I want to mix it with different styles, because that's what's fun for me as a guitar player."
While ...And Time Begins remains the album that all others within the tech-death sub-genre are judged against, Polarity displays Decrepit Birth's growth and Sotelo says they are not trying to please everyone.
,br> "I'd rather play this music because it makes me happy as a musician, not for other people, but I do want to share it with other people," he explains. "Hopefully they pick up on what we're doing and like it, but if they don't, oh well."
Following the release of Polarity, Decrepit Birth will be playing the Summer Slaughter Tour for their second year in a row. The tour includes six Canadian dates, with stops in Quebec City, Montreal and Toronto on August 2, 3 and 4, as well as in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver on August 16, 17 and 19, respectively.