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Decline of the I - Inhibition (Agonia Records)

By: Matthew Bowling

[7/10] Upon first looking through the promotional materials for this release only one question came to mind: “why is he naked?” A quick glance through the song titles showcase a number of French language titles and then later listens give way to a number of expected post-black aesthetics characteristic of the country, at times not wholly dissimilar from what Reverence is doing. Oddities of artistic license aside, all the right buttons are not hit with Inhibition, indeed at times there exists almost as many steps taken back as there are forward. Such is the nature of plying one’s trade in the avant-garde world, it’s very hit or miss at times.

The biggest miss almost kills the completely almost right out of the gate, the obscenely bloated and meandering 11-minute exercise “The End of a Sub-Elitist Addiction.” Nonsensical title aside, it harbors all of the blackened-doom qualities that permeate the album but aligns them in overly-long and otherwise off-putting ways: French speaking samples, electronic blips and beats, droning passages that go nowhere, they’re all here and all shamefully utilized. Things slowly rework themselves into a positive experience with the next track “Art or Cancer,” its back and forth bouts of crushing and bleeding atmosphere likely a sonic embodiment of the title and its intentions. Though in many regards similar to the song it follows and its constituent parts, they’re used in much more appropriate proportions and the effect isn’t quite so off-putting. Many of the songs however are simply over-long.

As the remaining songs all follow a similar blueprint this does result in stretches of monotony. Highlights emerge from the menacing use of music box on “The Other Rat” and the outright desolation of “L’Indécision d’Être” (…unquestionably the best thing here). While appreciation can be mustered for the artistic intent behind Inhibition, the execution unfortunately often falls flat. Ambition often finds itself unwed with the necessary structure and vision to create the earth-shattering and that is the case here, certainly nothing on hand to explain why the artist is hunched over and nude.

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