Rebaelliun – The Hell’s Decrees (2016)

rebaelliun - the hell's decrees

Article by Corey M.

While 1349 did not quite make good on their promise of delivering a battlefield soundtrack at blistering speeds, Rebaelliun have taken the reigns and driven their blazing chariot into a chaotic realm of vicious blasts and reckless shredding the likes of which many bands have intruded upon only to be cut down due to their inability to survive such an onslaught.

In the past, bands such as Aeon have presented some unworthy offerings at the altar of Deicide, but Rebaelliun diminish those halfhearted efforts even further by adapting their mentor’s tactic of relentlessly aggressive songcraft while actually understanding intuitively their spirit of hatred and hostility. Using the individual musical elements of the band as gears in clockwork, the players rev up the horsepower until the cogs are spraying white-hot sparks.

The drum performance here stands out immediately, being absolutely maniacal. Incessant battering at an unholy tempo reduces the rhythm section to a grating blur, which sounds inhumanly clinical, bordering on anxiety-inducing. In a rock music format, this sort of sterility, mostly devoid of human idiosyncrasies, would be boring or annoying, but the mechanical approach reveals the foundation of Rebaelliun’s philosophy; sinister efficiency, with ruthless inconsideration for the listener’s preference.

If the Morse-code-like drum patterns provide a molecular basis for the rest of the music, the guitars are the proteins that fold and link together to emerge as functional organs that rapidly evolve into specialized prey-killing appendages. Claws, proboscis, compound eyes, carapace; these much more organic features are described by the melodies, which move unhindered between top-speed chromatic fusillades and ringing funereal passages. There are no gracious melodies; all evoke a sense of intense hostility, like a wounded predator cycling through fits of rage, bouts of carnage, then a brief moment to observe and revel in the resulting bloodbath before exploding into violence again.

Finally, the highest process of this murderous machine is represented by the vocals, which are thankfully not too guttural or digitally distorted and strike a measured balance between vitriol and clarity. This is the thought process of the demonic beast whose lower-level body functions and features are described by the drums and guitars, respectively. From the first song, the vocalist makes their mission evident:

Oppressing the oppressor, my unholy will is free
The wild is calling to start the savagery
Denial of rules, denial of order
Reject submission, nihilist for eternity

Rarely does a band take such a sincerely convincing approach to describing and magnifying total and uncompromising evil in both music and lyrics. The relentless, baleful tone is uncompromised by any kind of musical break that would relieve the pressure on the listener for even a moment. This may actually be a weakness of The Hell’s Decrees, as many metal fans are accustomed to being bludgeoned in good sport but are also prepared to have some breathing room offered by a band. However this experience is not claustrophobic as there is plenty of variance in the song dynamics to keep the album from getting boring, but only the strong will survive this one, and even then they may not enjoy it.

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44 thoughts on “Rebaelliun – The Hell’s Decrees (2016)”

  1. HH says:

    Completely forgot about this band until reading this review. Annihilation is a good album.

  2. ignorantkid says:

    not better than Nile much

    1. Better than Nuclear Blasted Nile though.

  3. John D. says:

    Hey C.M. Holy shit, that’s fantastic! Your genius thrives in wild expressionism. Of the better writers I’ve read on this site, and you’re certainly one of them, I think how music reviewing might even be left behind, your genius shaking it off like a snake skin, or breaking free of it as from a strait-jacket, you as a writer frothing mad and running free, metaphorically going on a killing spree. So impressive are your descriptive powers on their own, I can see you writing short stories or a book of fiction in which chaos rules the universe, all laws are turned upside down, and humankind is released, only a minority knowing how to hold their form and live in that terrifying freedom with any strength and dignity, while the rest collapse and crumble and then turn into a swarm of insects or a plague of locusts; – and (this is what I’d really love to see from you), never before seen monsters both predatory and preyed upon roam the earth, monsters which are true representations and embodiments of the alien beings and forces which already exist all around us and within us in this sick and decaying world, which make all the old monsters look ridiculous in comparison.

  4. 1349 says:

    Listened to a couple of songs, don’t want to continue.
    Generic predictable uninspired riffs, uninventive drumming, low IQ vocals. A mix of the worst in Hate Eternal, Malevolent Creation and late Napalm Death.

    1. Bands of this approach have been a staple of metal, and are dangerous because they are not fully, obviously bad like the mainstream stuff or the funderground material. However, they never quite make it to the level of “inspiring” either. I call it an approach because it exists in multiple styles, some as melodic and others as chromatic, but the psychology is the same: a choppy, interrupted psychology based not in outright distraction but at least in a conceptual drift and mission creep that then re-affirms the most repetitive parts.

      1. Angry Faggot says:

        Even funderground bands can hold my interest for longer than this. This is nothing but a second-rate copy of second-rate bands.

        1. Benign Rumour says:

          What is “funderground”? Or, which bands are in it?

          1. Funderground was coined by Pogrom from Arghoslent to refer to the scenesters populating idiotic styles such as slam, metalcore, and war metal

      2. Ludvig B.B (vOddy) says:

        I have seen you draw a distinction between chromatic and melodic music multiple times now.
        What do you mean by this?
        Can a melody not be chromatic?

        I’m uneducated in music theory apart from some self studies, but interested to learn more.
        If there is a simple and quick answer, and you have the time, please tell me what you mean.
        Have a good day.

        1. Rainer Weikusat says:

          People with an overexposure to European music tend to assume that certain frequencies are more frequency than other frequencies (except that nobody really agrees what these actually are but that’s not supposed to be visible to laymen). There’s such a thing as an octave which is the musical interval between two sounds whose frequences are adjacent powers of two multiplied with the same constant. Eg, assuming someone agreed that an a is actually 440Hz, 440 * 2^0 (2 to the 0th power, IOW, 1), the note an octave about that would be 440 * 2^1 (2 to the 1st power, 2), 880Hz and the octave below 440 * 2 ^-1 (0.5), 220Hz. A chromatic scale is one (simplification) dividing the octave interval into 12 so-called semitones of equal distance. Semitone steps are regarded as dissonant. There’s also a more common, so-called diatonic scale (the white keys on a piano keyboard) which is composed of 5 ‘tone’ steps (1/6 of an octave) and two semitone steps. For C, this would be the tone intervals c – d and d – e, followed by the semitone e – f, followed by the tones f – g, g – a and a – h (I’m German), followed by another semitone h – c. Common melodies restrict themselves mostly to these notes, possibly even to a subset of five of them (pentatonic).

          This is all extremely simplified and of dubious usefulness to anyone who hasn’t been drilled (»dressiert«) to recognize this and put the ‘proper’ terms where they belong.

          1. Ludvig B.B (vOddy) says:

            I know all of that, but what does it have to do with melody?

            A melody is a sequence of tones, chromatic or not.

            1. Rainer Weikusat says:

              As you’ve just defined the distinction away, why did you ask for it in the first place?

              1. Rainer Weikusat says:

                “Angry replies rarely useful” —- tones in a sequence don’t exist in isolation but represent intervals creating harmonies. For the common understanding of ‘melody’, these intervals will usually be consonant as that’s considered ‘nice sounding’ and only dissonant to add emphasis/ tension/ suspense at certain points. This means a subset of the intervals available on a diatonic scale. All individual intervals on a chromatic scale are dissonant and because of this, music based on free use of semitone steps won’t usually be considered ‘melodic’ (this has a connotation of ‘nice sounding’).

                1. It makes the most sense to understand melodic as an approach, rather than getting too much into the details: the composers want the music to intensely exhibit the recognizable characteristics of melody. We can say that chromatic progressions are melodies, too, but they are not “melodic” in the sense that we might say “a melodic composition” or “melodic chai-sipping metrosexual punk/funk/metal.”

                2. Ludvig B.B (vOddy) says:

                  I can play the language game, and I understand what people mean when they say it.
                  But perhaps it’s more accurate to just call it consonant.

                  I prefer to say that something is melodic if it has lots of tonal steps, as opposed to just being chord 1 -> chord 2 -> chord 3. Both are technically a sequence of tones (what isn’t?), but one lingers on certain harmonies, giving more emphasis on harmony rather than melody, and the other jumps all over the place, thus emphasising the sequence itself. In other words, the more emphasis is on the sequence itself and not the other parts, the more melodic it is.

                  Using this definition, dissonant, consonant, diatonic, chromatic, pentatonic, etc music can all be melodic.
                  But I understand what people mean.

                  In any case, thanks for the answers. I was worried that there was a huge misunderstanding in the way I think of music.

            2. some guy says:

              Consonant is a more accurate word for what in metal is referred to as “melodic”.

  5. OliveFox says:

    Another album of late with very peculiar choices in guitar lead lines. Spastic and corny at the same time. Very strange. While the DEICIDE comparison is understandable, a quick spin of Legion will quickly put this mildly entertaining album out of your mind.

    1. C.M. says:

      Agreed, it does not stand up to Legion (but then, what does?). However I hold the band in high regard for achieving such a brutal expression without relying on “brutal” tropes like extreme downtuned power chord chugs or gurgling vocals. Raw aggression has its place in metal.

      1. Rebaelliun aren’t that aggressive. Cryptopsy and Order From Chaos are aggressive.

        1. C.M. says:

          Not aggressive? How about, athletic? Active? Spastic? Retarded? A little of all of the above?

          Should have thought of the Cryptopsy comparison myself. This album sounds like what they could have put out if they didn’t go deathcore (and sufferred a brain-damaging bus wreck).

          1. Decapitated was in the bus-crash.

    2. Rainer Weikusat says:

      Even assuming that this was true (please note that I’m not saying it isn’t), the problem with this is “It’s dead, Jim.”

      I’ve spent an ungodly 24 years with digging through the past of rock music to determine what it is and how it became that (and would still consider myself a barely knowledgable adept) which had a very short peak period from some time in 1966 to 1968, trailing off in 1969 (I could supply a few names here which would betray my aesthetic preferences but these are always somewhat volatile and I’m a firm disbeliever in “Dann hat er die Teile in seiner Hand, Fehlt, leider! nur das geistige Band.” music analysis, as the pitiful attempt at “analysing the music of Varg Virkernes” linked here some time ago demonstrated —- what’s that now going to enable you to do, man? Clone it 200 times for christmas commercials?) and then mushroomed into a tumour one would be well-advised to stay mostly clear off. This peak came and went about 50 years ago and no power on earth can change that. Since then, the common mindset has evolved in a way h rendering ordinary people incapable of even experiencing that: It’s possible to tear through this numbing heap
      stereotypical interpretations people habitually jump to for a moment, but it will always close itself again afterwards, with no lasting impression left.

      The present may be highly deficient when compared with outstanding events of the past, but it has to be lived with. This includes seeking out whatever it might have to offer, invariably ending with a lot of mediocre stuff with occasional glimpses of something better, some outright bad one – maybe – some new greatness (which will then also pass).

      Something I didn’t write about (but could have written about instead)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvIUdDtOO9E

      [absolutey unmetal and requiring a solid 13 minutes of attention]

      The present-day understanding of the guy who’s playing the lead guitar is “something like a 2nd rate Clapton [copy]” (“And the forest wept” … )

  6. Rainer Weikusat says:

    Bad case of »metaphor running away with its inventor« (Brain-eating zombie metaphor?).

    The music seems nice so far, definitely worth a closer look. I keep being amazed by these descriptions, though: I don’t think the drumming is »sterile« at all and certainly not »anxiety-inducing«, more the reassuring pulse of the body that’s discernible below if one cares to listen for it. I generally don’t understand the concept of music that’s »hostile« to the listener. I like this because it talks to me, not because I enjoy getting hurt. Rhianna is much more painful, especially in the metaphysical sense.

    1. C.M. says:

      Hmm, good questions. When I say music toward the listener, I really should be saying that the music is hostile toward the established paradigm of consonance and harmony that humans perceive. For example, pop-rock music does not stray far outside of the conventional 5- or 7- note scales and usually sticks closely to a conventional major or minor key, because that’s what Western audiences have become accustomed to hearing over the course of hundreds of years. On the opposite of the spectrum you have glitch or noise music that not only eschews tonality and melody completely, but also does away with rhythm. This is only effective (and arguably so) because it subverts our expectations of music. However one could argue that being free from tonality and rhythm means that it is not music. But everything else falls into the spectrum between pop and noise, between comfortable and confusing.

      Extreme metal is nearer the outside edge of that spectrum because it discards many contemporary musical paradigms and reduces the function of the instruments to essential melody. Then everything comes after that; drums, vocals, etc. Some metal is even atonal or chromatic which pushes it even further from musical convention, but with a little consideration we have to agree that it is still music because it is organized in rhythmic and melodic patterns.

      Anyway, my take is that music that strays far from convention (which = comfort) is bound to frazzle some listeners who are too accustomed to the paradigm and are not able to process highly unconventional tone or rhythm patterns, often causing them to write off the music as “just noise”. This kind of metal is therefore hostile to conventional sensibilities because it makes no attempt to be understood or identified with typical contemporary musical structuring.

      Clearly you and I do not sense this hostility directed *at us* as listeners, but surely you can see how a Rihanna fan would be driven off by the lack of accessible, pleasant, comforting content in an album like this one.

  7. feed says:

    the staff don’t know what to like anymore

    1. Some of our staff have questionable taste.

    2. C.M. says:

      I don’t actually like this, and won’t listen to it again. But Rebaelliun do one thing well, and I described what that is and how they do it.

      1. That means you should’ve written a scathing review instead of an apprehensive one.

        1. C.M. says:

          The review isn’t apprehensive, just inconclusive. There isn’t any glaring incompetence in Rebaelliun’s sound; it works on all the fundamental levels. There is just no point, no direction, no purpose other than being pissed off. This album shows what happens when a band is good but not inspired.

          1. The point is Rebaelliun have no point and aren’t good. They don’t even want to musically express how much they want to drink beer, kill people, and listen to 80s metal like Malokarpatan. All Rebaelliun want to be is a shitty copy of a shitty band. These idiots weren’t smart enough to even copy Deeds of Flesh’s songwriting formula. No, they had to be an ersatz Krisiun as Krisiun is a shitty, easy to copy band from Brazil. They couldn’t be bothered to download a bunch of old Cogumelo records and copy a good Brazilian band. The lazy songwriting that eventually becomes almost deathcore on this album is not a surprise given the Septic Flesh cover art.

          2. There is just no point, no direction, no purpose other than being pissed off.

            This leads to a funny thought, which is that Pantera represents someone who has no direction except being pissed off, but then decides to drown their brain in cheap weed and beer.

            1. John D. says:

              This sort of observation, completely with merit, Brett, makes me want to descend down even further into the individualities who actually get lost in that music and consume it (like going down into a sewer with a torch), and wonder what they’re running from, that big truth they can’t face. What is the Pantera phenomenon, what exactly is it about Justin Bieber or Rihanna (other than her nice tits)? How many among the Pantera fans are redeemable and can be brought back around, cleansed of their taste for that garbage? In my younger days I myself pursued many dead ends. I bet you every one of us might confess to an embarrassing phase or two, or many. (I got my Grandma to buy me a Kiss album when I was a boy.) Taste is something organic and evolutionary. Some people go about it with novocaine injected into their tongues, not to mention the nipple piercings. Rounding up into huge categories for dismissal or like taking out the trash isn’t particularly illuminating or instructive. Fuck, I just thought of that movie Trash Humpers by Harmony Korine.

              1. Rounding up into huge categories for dismissal or like taking out the trash isn’t particularly illuminating or instructive.

                We should perhaps turn that around and make it into a question, “When is rounding up huge categories for dismissal useful”?

                My answer is that most of us needed guides along the way, so it helps to have people tell us what is good… and what sucks, so long as they also say why it sucks.

                Anyone can call something racist or gay or whatever. Tell us why it is bad not just musically, but artistically (and underlying that, philosophically).

                This is how we encourage people to rise above the lowest levels: hierarchy. Some cannot, and it makes little sense to shout at them, but after twenty years of that behavior, it is time to put them on boats to somewhere else. I am a musical elitist, because I am an artistic elitist, and idiots would be happier listening to Pantera far away from me, I am sure. ;)

                1. OliveFox says:

                  I often attempt a fairly utilitarian approach to metal “evangelism,” if you will. If someone brings up, say, RABAELLIUN, and says how “awesome” and “brutal” it is. Instead of smashing them and saying they have shit taste, I’ll try to point them toward a DEICIDE or early GORGUTS album and, hopefully, they begin to understand the nuances that exist between quality metal and “shrug metal,” because of their own intellect or some gut instincts.

                  Sometimes people whom I thought were idiots, surprise me and really start to dig into classics and discard the trash. Fuck, I got my dullard mechanic cousin to blast SLAYER, PRONG, NUM SKULL, and old SEPULTURA at his shop just because of a conversation about 80’s METALLICA v 90s METALLICA and some casual recommendations on my part. He needed a nudge, but once the ball started rolling, I barely had to speak to him and a year later he had RIGOR MORTIS and DEAD HORSE blasting while replacing the rack and pinion on my van.

                  Often, usually more “educated” types, will fuss and whine. Decry the legitimacy of the classics, and attempt to steer the conversation toward vague notions: “It’s ALL music anyways,” “Whatever…it sucks, but it RULES!” “It’s all SHIT anyways.” Very sad and frustrating. Thus, deserving of a total smashing.

                  I wish I had money and actually trusted some of you creepy internet fucks and I’d helicopter everyone to one of my Metal Parties. Food, Drink, Metal, and conversations about Metal (and…errr…politics).

                2. John D. says:

                  I’m happy how this has gone. From hashing out the lineaments of responsible criticism and now coming to mentoring. Very important. More mentoring needs to be done. (I myself have been in contact with some very great spirits which knocked me on my ass. When this happens it stings at the time, one feels offended or hurt, but it’s good for personal development.)

                  Growing up I was at times called an elitist. I’m not arrogant, however. Maybe when I was younger I gave off that appearance. The more overtly and extravagantly arrogant, the more one lords oneself over others and makes a big show of it, the more I think there is some hidden unresolved issue in the bearer. Likewise, those who express intense hatred, projecting it outwards at a target, are actually hating something they haven’t quite resolved in themselves. Still waters run deep. My good-natured cheerfulness and playfulness in free-association is sometimes mistaken for weakness or lack of depth, or when I amp up the energy level, for craziness, when it’s actually quite the opposite.

                3. Ludvig B.B (vOddy) says:

                  Nice post.

                  I generally agree, and I think that it is written well.
                  It applies to more than music, too, for example problem solving, ethics, and non-musical aesthetics.

        2. John D. says:

          My takeaway is increasing recognition of serious raw talent among the writing staff. Albums aren’t needed for the expression of that talent. It would be interesting if two staff members with a word limit reviewed the same album, and then a comparison could be made. Certain rules might be added, such as a seriousness level. There are albums which everyone agrees are shit it would be fascinating to see written about as seriously as one could. The mind would be allowed to travel outside the album to include sociological and historical observations to contextualize. Likewise, it would be fascinating if an album everyone agrees is a masterpiece had to be treated satirically or as fodder for humor. My personal opinion is that a man who has any genius in him could convert shit to gold and vice versa.

          1. Vigilance says:

            “My personal opinion is that a man who has any genius in him could convert shit to gold and vice versa”

            Ahem. http://www.deathmetal.org/review/crushing-the-sacred-idols-transylvanian-hunger-1994/

            1. John D. says:

              Hey Lance V. You’re the man. Potent and nuanced thinker and and an excellent writer. A true creator confers meaning, gives or takes away, and you appear to have the ability to do both. You’re the one who opened the door for me into this site with your marvelous The Mythic and The Mystic essay. I have very great respect for Brett S., for quite some time stimulated and challenged and enjoying his writing from afar, but that essay of yours made me want to break my silence and participate a little.

  8. I Am the Black Mages says:

    That review led me to expect a band akin to Revenge, or earlier Deeds of Flesh, or Deicide, or Axis of Advance. What I got was late-period Behemoth-worship, blasting drumming that hides tame heavy metal. It’s fine for what it is, I guess, but that wasn’t a barrage that metalheads couldn’t survive unless you are talking to casual Metallica fans or something.

  9. thewaters says:

    This is honestly garbage! Brett, please come back as the editor and main writer for this site. Even the relative silence of the DLA from 2000-2010 was preferable to the reviews and news that pass on this site as of right now. However, I am just an SJW, and/or maybe a lazy good for nothing that has done nothing to promote Hessian culture blah blah blah………

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