Decadence and Decay is Portland based heavy power metal outfit Silver Talon’s first full length album, coming three years after a half hour EP. Inspired heavily by the greats of the ‘80s like King Diamond (whose very own Andy LaRocque makes a guest spot on Resistance 2029) and Judas Priest, while the Warrel Dane - Nevermore in particular, with the groove leaning riffage smacking in the foreground - influences lie heavy over the entire sound. Silver Talon also come with the (by Maiden popularized) triple guitar threat. Maybe not all that necessary in every situation, but the guys make it work; tossing leads back and forth, solo dueling whilst the mean riffing never ceases - bassist Walter Hartzell adding even more fuel to the fire. Right out of the gate we’re hit with a demonically heavy sound, as Deceiver I Am smashes through to crush all doubts that you’re in for a heavy ass fret melting ride.
Absolute unit of an opener Deceiver I Am brings solid, fleshy riffage coming through in spades, while tracks like slow cooking What Will Be provide more subtle measures of getting the point across. Never on here do the guys seem to skimp on the material or the delivery; it’s heavy as all fuck, the musicianship rock solid and - while never to the point of gratuitous showmanship or wankery - showing the skill and the class that lie behind it. Closer Touch the Void suffers just a bit from the voiceover effects, without which - and with Wyatt Howell’s vocal prowess to fill that void - it would have doubtlessly marked a massive epic to close off a massive debut. As it stands, these voiceovers drag it down slightly, though it’s still a highly enjoyable song. It is however the mid album tracks, Next to the Sun, Divine Fury and Kill all Kings that truly crush. High vocals, melodic riffing and a trampling rhythm section, these are the closest to power metal the album presents, and they make it with conviction and a dramatic, heavy flair.
It’s a fairly short album by modern standards, clocking in at around 46 minutes and eight tracks. (Or what was the norm back in the olden days.) The songwriting comes through as sophisticated and punctual; nothing overstays its welcome and in the end it all comes together through the eloquent guitar work. The massive, sometimes even thrashy, vibes are led by the triple guitar threat, as the guys keep tossing towering riffage into the mix. While there are plenty of melodic leads and harmonies in the lead section, the weight of the riffing takes precedence, letting Howell take melodic charge as he blasts into big sounding choruses. The man lets his range soar throughout the runtime, showing both his deeper, grittier side while also taking to the skies for some impressive - though never too high - highs, obviously inspired by the olden metal gods and making the style his very own. Heavy and ballsy, Decadence and Decay makes for a crushing, rifflicious debut that should give fans of heavy metal both modern and old school a great time, while also appealing to fans of thrash and aggressive power metal. It’s not super common to come across a debut so well crafted and steeped in the mythos of the entire genre, but with Decadence and Decay Silver Talon makes a damn killing of it.
Standout tracks: Deceiver I Am, Next to the Sun, Divine Fury, Kill all Kings