You can always rely on CENTINEX to deliver the goods when it comes to classic Swedish death/thrash metal, thanks in large part to lone original member and bassist Martin Schulman pushing the band onward. Strangely enough, the group has never been as well known as Swedish brethren ENTOMBED, GRAVE, or DISMEMBER, yet CENTINEX has been around since 1990 and can rightfully lay claim to being one of the progenitors of the "Swedish sound."
Notoriety began creeping CENTINEX's way with the 2004 release of "Decadence – Prophecies of Cosmic Chaos", a career highlight of sorts that featured more tempo variety and a greater emphasis on melody, all done without abandoning the core sound. "World Declension" sees the group stripping away some of those brighter elements and returning to a more traditional Swedish death metal approach, one that is heavy on that chunky Sunlight-esque guitar sound, motoring rhythm section, and a go-for-the-throat, mostly up-tempo attack. Put simply, "World Declension" is a heavier album than "Decadence…" The melodies haven't been abandoned; they're just pushed a little further down into the pummeling mix. Adding to the album's harsher delivery, vocalist Johan Jansson sticks with his death growl to a greater extent than on "Decadence", though mid-range screams are still used as both a layering effect and in one case ("Synthetic Sin Zero") as a primary style.
Conceptually, the nine songs are broken into two chapters, five making up the first ("Visions of Armageddon") and four making up the second ("Earth Inferno"). Though my promotional copy doesn't include lyrics, it's pretty clear from the album and song titles that optimism for a better world is not what we're talking about. Musically, there's not a great deal of difference in style between the first and second chapters, except for slightly more dynamic arrangements in the latter section. Chapter I's last song, "Sworn", and (especially) Chapter II's first song, "Synthetic Sin Zero", could be considered the album's standout tracks, if only because of a greater emphasis on memorable choruses. The intensity never subsides though and consistency of delivery is the one constant throughout.
Fans of vintage Swedish death metal should find themselves pleased with "World Declension". Perhaps not original, but an easy one to recommend to the dedicated.