When discussing Baltimore, MD thrashers Noisem, the press tend to focus on a singular point: that the dudes in this death thrash outfit are heavy metal spring chickens. Extreme music’s fifth estate is indeed on the mark; Tyler Cairns, Billy Cairns, Yago Ventura, Harley Phillips, and Sebastian Phillips (yes, that’s two sets of brothers) are currently aged between 17 and 22, and the band formed in 2008. However, this focus on age suggests an underlying opinion that the quality of Noisem’s music somehow exceeds what should be possible for such a young group. Metal is a genre obsessed with the paying of dues, so when the internet hype train starts jocking a bunch of whippersnappers as the future of metal, the old guard of metal fandom grow suspicious that someone is rustling their collective jimmies. Thankfully, a few spins of Noisem’s new full length Blossoming Decay and a quick peak at the group’s short but impressive resume should convince even the most jaded metal head that Noisem are the real Goddamn deal.
As mentioned, the band formed in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2013 when the group, then going by the moniker Necropsy, signed with A389 Recordings, a Baltimore label with an impressive line up that includes bands such as Integrity, Iron Reagan, and Ringworm. Soon after, the group changed their name and released Agony Defined , an exhilarating 26-minute, nine-song blast of old school, whammy-bar infused thrash and death metal sprinkled with grind and punk. What stood out on Agony, besides the incredible musicianship and sense of fun, was that while the sound was obviously rooted in history, it wasn’t an obvious aping of the classics. Noisem clearly possessed the songwriting skills to breathe a bit of life into a genre whose well had seemingly run dry. Sure, it wasn’t a perfect album, but the potential was palatable.
With a new album out on a well-respected indie label, Noisem had the chance to bring their live show to a much larger audience. In the same year that Agony Defined was released, Noisem performed at Maryland Deathfest, sharing the stage with Bolt Thrower, Cobalt, and many more. Noisem also performed at Scion Rock Fest in Tennessee that same year, alongside heavyweights such Six Feet Under, Negative Approach, and Testament. In 2014, Noisem were asked to be part of The Decibel Magazine Tour, supporting the legendary English death metal band Carcass. The tour, which also included The Black Dahlia Murder and Gorguts, took Noisem across North America.
The critical success of Agony Defined combined with the exposure provided by a heavy tour and festival schedule created understandably lofty expectations for 2015’s Blossoming Decay. Would the band stick to their thrash roots, or would they go completely off in a new direction? Admirably, Noisem elected to do both: Blossoming is indeed Noisem’s signature breakneck death thrash, but with far more prevalent punk and grind elements. But the most drastic change has occurred in the lyrical tone. While Agony concerned itself primarily with classic death metal blood, guts, and gore, Blossoming Decay seems to be a far more personal record, with lyrics that deal with themes of abandonment, anxiety, and suicide. As such, the album’s impact is a combination of technical bravado and mature, nuanced ideas.
Unsurprisingly, Noisem will be spending the better part of 2015 on the road in support of Blossoming Decay, including a stop in Montreal, QC as part of the Obscene Extreme America festival. Seriously folks, don’t sleep on this band.
Written by Jesse Gainer