Saturday, July 20, 2024

Guts, Glory, and Sepulchral Entities – A Quick Retrospective Glance at Obliteration’s Perpetual Decay

Sixteen years ago, the Norwegian death metal combo known as Obliteration released a flawless and deftly executed debut LP entitled Perpetual Decay via Tyrants Syndicate Productions, which was a relatively young label at the time that was conceived and run by Gylve “Fenriz” Nagel and Ted “Nocturno Culto” Skjellum of Darkthrone fame. Although the label ceased its activities years ago, the music and the memories associated with it live on, which is exactly what prompted this scribe to string a few incoherent sentences together that would highlight just how timeless the aforementioned record by Obliteration is. Before we proceed, let me make it clear that there is nothing new, illuminating, or original to what you are about to spend the next two minutes reading. This short piece merely serves as a friendly reminder of just how frigging brilliant Perpetual Decay is and that it is an essential listen for any fan of underground death metal.

Obliteration was conceived back in 2004 in the city of Kolbotn, which is a 20-minute drive from Oslo, and the foul entity has unleashed four excellent full-lengths as well as a few EPs and singles since then. As loathe as I am to admit it, I was a rather late arrival at the Obliteration party, and while their name was one that I was familiar with thanks to various metal publications and underground fanzines, I did not actually purchase one of their albums until some bleak day in mid-March 2010 when visiting a friend in Bergen, Norway. The guy was adamant that I invest my hard-earned cash and precious time in Perpetual Decay when we stumbled on a copy of the CD in a local record store. Needless to say, I am forever grateful to him for forcing my hand and knocking some sense into that thick skull of mine, or restoring my sanity, if you will. The ironic thing is that the ensemble played the Inferno festival in Oslo back in 2005, and yours truly attended said event that year, but for whatever lame reason I missed out on that performance, presumably in favor of watching other bands or conducting interviews. Yeah, I know, my loss.

The album lasts 34 minutes and contains ten incredibly atmospheric, fully formed juggernauts that manage to pay homage to the days of old while subtly looking to the future. The molten mass of riffs is so utterly compelling and powerful that it hurts, and the relentless aggression and venomous rawness that emanate from tracks ala ‘The Abominator’, ‘Consumed by Flames’, and the brooding ‘Repent’ are the stuff that death metal dreams are made of. Perhaps its greatest strength is its overwhelming sense of conviction and authenticity, which is to say that nothing on the disc sounds contrived or devoid of intense passion. Every single riff and each vile syllable indicate that Obliteration poured their hearts into this most vicious of creations. You do not pull something like this off unless you truly believe in what you are doing.     

Today, Perpetual Decay stands tall and proud as one of the best and most outstanding extreme metal releases to have come out of the Norwegian underground these past three decades. From the ominous and stirring tones of album opener ‘Sadistic Nekroabortion’ to the deafening chimes of rotting flesh that is ‘Sinstorm’, the LP is a force of nature and a rip-roaring ride through morbid soundscapes and ugly atmospheres that will seduce and enthral the listener.    

The album was captured for posterity at the Subsonic Society studio in the city center of Oslo, which is a 10-minute walk from the Central Station. Other notable acts such as Ulver, Khold, Red Harvest, Airbag, and Bjørn Riis have also either recorded or mixed some of their noteworthy works at this very address. The photo above courtesy of yours truly depicts the exterior of the building that houses the studio, and one can only wonder how that is still standing considering how pulverizing and thunderous Perpetual Decay is; if anything, that album is akin to a massive bulldozer capable of removing any obstacle in its way, so I reckon the walls of the studio took a severe beating when the four-piece inhabited that space. Regardless, what you need to do right now is to acquaint (or re-acquaint) yourself with this resplendent and seemingly boundless well of inspired and creative old-school metal madness.


  1. Sadistic Nekroabortion
  2. The Abominator
  3. Breeding the Sick
  4. Repent
  5. Instrumental
  6. Perpetual Decay
  7. Guts and Glory
  8. Consumed by Flames
  9. Sepulchral Entity
  10. Sinstorm


Arild Torp – guitars

Didrik Telle – bass

Kristian Valbo – drums

Sindre Solem – vocals and guitars

Jens Nepper
Jens Nepper
Born and raised in Denmark, currently living in Norway, and hopelessly addicted to coffee and Black Sabbath.

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