With everybody on a bit of a retro kick within the realm of synthpop, darkwave, and other related genres, I feel as if poor production, mixing, and mastering has become something of a problem. Many bands look back to the heyday of goth in the eighties and think that a lo-fi aesthetic is plausible in our current environment. While a very few number of acts can establish a lo-fi atmosphere with some solid production, most fail and fall into a trap of sounding like so many other bedroom producers. However, there are also modern acts who shun the idea of lo-fi quality or mimicking legends from the eighties whose outdated techniques should not necessarily be replaced, but reused and analyzed with modern hardware. This is where bands such as This Eternal Decay come into play.
This industrial-influenced synthpop, darkwave, and general gothic sounding project was launched by Riccardo Sabetti (Spiral69), Pasquale Vico (Date at Midnight) Andrea Freda (Spiritual Front) and Alessio Schiavi (Avant-Garde). Their debut album “I Choose an Eternity of This” launched in 2018 in partnership with Trisol Music Group to massive praise. Following a tour just two months after the launch of their debut, This Eternal Decay went on to release their sophomore album “Silence”. The reception of the album was even greater than anticipated, with three reissues of the physical version happening in the span of five months. Their popularity has not dwindled and they have only been getting better and better.
2022 sees that launch of This Eternal Decay’s third album “Nocturnæ”, a ten track album with a few bonuses. The concept behind the album is a reconstruction of life and the idea found therein based on the real world events that have been upsetting humanity. It’s an album that basks in the darkness people still find themselves trapped within, with some still clawing their way out. Themes of insecurity, death, love, distance, and fragility are all explored on the album. Themes are one thing, but how they are translated into music is another. I’m glad to say that This Eternal Decay have nailed down a phenomenal album to kickstart 2022.
After a series of ambiance, humming, and keys, a synthpop beat builds up in the beginning of ‘Death Doesn’t Lie’. The vocals kick in afterward and while they aren’t anything unique or special for the genre, they fit well. What we get within this song are wonderful lead guitar and bass guitar elements from gothrock and post-punk, synth pads a la synthpop, and (mostly during the chorus) dance beats that would find a comfy home within a dark electro track. All these elements allow the four-minute and forty-nine second track to maintain energy and excitement throughout.
‘Disappear’ utilizing fuzzy elements a la gothrock and post-punk to emanate a darker, solemn atmosphere. Nonetheless, there’s still a bouncy synthpop rhythm found within; This Eternal Decay is basically tackling gothic-dance head on and are absolutely smashing barriers. ‘Lights’ leans heavily into gothrock territory though bright synths are still present throughout. The steady bassline within ‘No Apologies’ leaves me engaged on each playthrough. It can be a bit simplistic in comparison to a couple of the other songs on the album, but it’s not bad. Track number five, ‘DarkLove’, is a slow ballad if anything exploring the pain of love. It almost sounds like a tumultuous relationship song or a goth’s version of a break-up song. Nonetheless, it’s killer and brings in some gritty industrial synths in the rhythm mimicking the aches and pains of heartbreak.
I’d say that ‘Scars’ will most likely shine for those interested in EBM, dark techno, or industrial-dance music. The rumbly rhythm is perfectly suited for any of those genres and had me bobbing my head and wiggling my body in my office chair as the song played. The title track has an extensive opening calling back to the lo-fi beats I mentioned in the introductory paragraph. However, after about one-minute and ten-seconds of this, This Eternal Decay cracks open the song to a blistering darkwave driven beat. While I think that intro could have been cut in half, the wait is worth the payoff.
‘Two Shades of Black’ is another slow ballad with experimental touches. I would say that at times, such as when the reverberation on the guitars reach new heights, it can almost resemble a noise wall or, at the very least, a shoegaze production. Shifting their vocal pitch to deeper depths, This Eternal Decay creates a wonderful gothic dance tune perfectly fitting anyone who’s a fan of Sisters of Mercy on ‘She Walks Away’. The final song on the album is an ‘Outro’ that lasts a little over two-minutes. It’s nothing too special and serves more or less as an ambient send-off. I don’t think it was necessary to include on the album and could have been cut to end with the fantastic ‘She Walks Away’.
As an infamous salesman once said, “But wait, there’s more!” Attached to the album are a couple of bonus track. The easiest one to point out is ‘No Apologies (Radio Edit)’. Basically it’s been extended by a little over a minute but is generally the same track. ACTORS and ASH CODE come on board to remix ‘Lights’. I wasn’t too huge a fan of either of these remixes as they simply buried the vocals that were found on the original version. WISBORG remixes ‘No Apologies’. The electro elements of the track are worked over well, while the chorus still retains it’s gothrock guitars. The final remix comes courtesy of A Copy For Collapse’. This remix brings This Eternal Decay straight into industrial territory. It’s a lo-fi, noise filled track that’s gritty and grimy. And I love it.
This Eternal Decay is rather refreshing in a sea of synthpop, darkwave, and other such producers who just aren’t up to par. Their music is phenomenal and the mixing and mastering is just stunning. This is the quality I expect from modern goth music. That, paired with their addictive beats and rhythms and their ability to pull from multiple genres within the field makes “Nocturnæ” stand out. Eight out of ten!