Decline of the I – Rebellion

You know what’s annoying?  Pretentious critics who pull out obscure quotes to verify their grasp of thought.  They must be feared, but remember, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself (John F. Kennedy, 1905).  Now we’re not trying to make enemies, but it’s been said if you want to make enemies, try to change something (George Washington, 2018).  Also, tear down this wall (Pope Innocent VIII, 1943).  Now, in defense of the person we’re ripping on, Decline of the I essentially does reference a famous, French philosopher in this his latest work, but it’s just damn annoying someone had to pull out an entire quote.  Oh, you’ve heard of that guy wow you must be really smart.  Who uses quotes in an unironic fashion anymore?  If you do that, make sure you use the word ‘quite’ quite a lot, good sir, be quite punctual in your usage of the quiteness.  Ugh, had enough already?  So have we, so let’s get on to an actual review instead of rambling, like some people are wont to do (high-style writing = 100% accurate critique).


Okay, swear to God that was the last joke.  Let’s focus on the ‘I’, meaning Decline of the I, a solo project from A.K. of Vorkreist and other French black metal acts.  After releasing one full-length in 2012 entitled Inhibition, he’s come back with his most recent excursion into the bizarre world of post-black metal with this one, Rebellion.  Knowing what you probably already do about post-anything, expectations are for the unusual, or better to say usual boundary pushing.  And going back to our original ripping on someone in particular, calling this anything close to “straightforward black metal” is completely ridiculous.  If that were true the production would cut in the middle of a riff and the drums would beat senselessly until the heads or drummer’s arms fell to pieces while Popeye screaming was recorded right over top of everything (Darkthrone reference, we know our black metal, clearly, quite).  So it’s not that at all, it’s progression of decline, in essence, that utilizes black metal style while never really retaining any consistency, and apparently purposefully so.  What’s really interesting is the way it builds and crumbles.


Rebellion is a conglomerate of several ideas that never completely solidify, moving rather like a fluid amoeba of metal under various crevasses and through cracks in the walls like vermin chewing on wires.  The first track is largely black metal in how it’s arranged, to be certain, other than odd moments where it dips into minimal electronics.  There seems to be an intentional purpose to this, which will be clear as we continue.  From there, the elements of black metal are progressively degraded, with moments of contemplative atmosphere, piano, orchestral moments, and a slow, but noticeable break down of concept.  As Rebellion slowly reaches its conclusion, the elements of what first seemed a traditional approach are further removed to make way for more experimentation with glitch and breakbeat elements making their presence later, and then it ends with slowness and personal struggle.  There thus seems to be a purposeful direction to the entirety, as though A.K. were seeking to draw the listener in with expectations, slowly stripping them away until the identity of the album seems incomplete, but yet not.  It enters into a state of decline purposefully, and by the end reveals itself to be something else entirely.  It’s an interesting movement from the beginning to the end, and if any complaint could be made it would be that, at times, it seems uncertain of how it wants to define itself, which is sometimes a fault, at others an advantage.  Comparing this to his first release, it’s clear that after this one Decline of the I will likely have the project completely defined by the next album, and it’s probably going to be massive.


Decline of the I Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Decline of the I: Rebellion
Agonia Records
4.3 / 5