Decasia – An Endless Feast for Hyenas Review

As a reviewer who largely gets to pick my own assignments, I face a desire to branch out once in a while. Most of us like discovering new things, but it can be a little off-putting to follow up the discovery with a review, knowing that you may not be “getting” the concepts. For myself, I like the idea of stoner doom, rock, metal, or whatever you’d like to call it. The hazy, laid-back, ambient-but-not-quite music appeals to me. I’m not a particular fan of the genre—but every once in a while, I want to try. That is how I find myself here, reviewing An Endless Feast for Hyenas, the debut full-length release from France’s Decasia. Playing “heavy psych” and citing influences like All Them Witches, Colour Haze, and Elder, Decasia represents the latest challenge to my listening habits. How does it hold?

The first thing I noticed, from the first moments of opener “Illion,” is that An Endless Feast for Hyenas has a lot more energy than I expect from this style. A sense of rising action opens the album, with Maxime Richard delivering drama in his riffs and a cool, collected intoning vocal delivery to pull you in and put you at ease once you’re there. From here, things relax a bit, and Decasia find their groove in a very laid-back, upbeat sort of rock, with moments of intensity coming and going throughout. It’s laid back, sure, but it’s got a definite “rock” feel to it, especially thanks to Richard’s vocal and riffing style.

Still, I get the impression that you aren’t “supposed” to pay too much attention to An Endless Feast for Hyenas. For one thing, Richard has a great voice for the style—smooth, high, and with just enough power behind it to make an impression (the chorus in “Hrosshvelli’s Ode” certainly works)—but I can rarely make out anything he’s singing, which is odd for such a clean style. This is due to the fact that there’s a lot of reverb surrounding his singing, and he isn’t especially high in the mix either. There are also moments across the album where Decasia winds things down significantly, such as towards the end of “Override.” Here, Fabien Proust’s bass teams up with cymbals and bells from drummer Geoffrey Riberry to create grinding interludes that essentially “pause” the song to deliver texture and atmosphere. It’s details like these that make this a better album to play on a speaker than through headphones. It’s not that it sounds bad, but it can be a bit difficult to follow, which makes for an odd listening experience at times.

Part of this comes from the simple fact that Decasia’s music is as minimalistic as its style suggests. With only a single electric guitar and bass to riff on, An Endless Feast for Hyenas never feels especially heavy (though I will say: the bass sounds great, consistently adding a satisfying crunch to basically everything). They’re able to “fill in the gaps” through vocal effects (“Skeleton Void”), driving rhythms (“Illion”) and catchy vocal melodies (“Laniakea Falls”), but it still feels like something is missing. I alluded earlier to the fact that there are moments of energy, fun, and catchiness sprinkled throughout the album, but I couldn’t really name a standout song or even moment that made a big impression. The result is that An Endless Feast for Hyenas is a largely enjoyable album, but once it’s over, I move on quickly.

It may well be that I’m simply not the intended audience for An Endless Feast for Hyenas. It’s hard to argue that Decasia have built a solid foundation for a sound they undoubtedly enjoy sharing. Their passion is clear, but I’m not quite sold on the end result. I will say this, though—I am very interested in their energetic take on a style I often associate with slow background noise, and I’m glad I got to review this release, because now I know to keep an eye out for the next one.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 5th, 2022

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