Decrepit Birth is an American progressive/technical death metal band. Originally a brutal death metal band with a straightforward early-2000s Unique Leader Records sound, they took a far different turn with their second album, focusing on highly complex, melodic, and multifaceted arrangements highly reminiscent of late-era Death and with it has come a great deal of fame that is steadily propelling them into the upper echelon of modern death metal.
The band was formed in Santa Cruz, California in 2001 by Bill Robinson (vocals), Matt Sotelo and Mike Turner (guitars), and Derek Boyer (bass). A drummer was not found, however, and the band stayed a studio project, drafting Tim Yeung for session drums on ...And Time Begins, their 2003 full-length debut. Boyer left soon after to join the reunited Suffocation, and the band quickly found a replacement in Risha Eryavec. More significant, however, was their acquisition of a full-time drummer in the form of Bay Area drumming extraordinaire KC Howard (of Odious Mortem fame). The next year or so went by uneventfully, though Sotelo was busily engaged in writing material for a promo that would serve as a sampler of their new sound. 2006 proved to be one of their biggest years in more ways than one; on one hand, the promo dropped and instantly gained a sizable amount of critical praise, but on the other, Mike Turner was found guilty of child molestation charges that same year, which resulted in his unceremonious ejection by a disgusted Sotelo. No attempt was made to find a replacement; besides, they were too busy writing for and recording their breakthrough album. That album, Diminishing Between Worlds, dropped in early 2008 and was instantly hailed as a modern classic, and in its wake came multiple slots on high-profile tours. In addition, the band finally found another full-time bassist in the form of Joel Horner, as well as Dan Eggers, Turner's replacement and a renowned guitarist in his own right.
2009 brought even bigger things by way of a spot on the Summer Slaughter Tour, along with other lucrative large-scale tours. The band made a return to the Summer Slaughter lineup that same year, supporting Polarity, their newest full-length. Howard, however, left the band and retired from touring altogether, choosing to focus on tutoring and session work instead, with Eggers soon following. Eggers was quickly replaced by Chase Fraser, while Howard's spot was filled in live at various points by Sam "Samus" Paulicelli and Lee Smith until the former finally joined full-time (barring college). Horner left the following year, with Boyer briefly returning until Suffocation called him back, resulting in Sean Martinez taking over his spot in turn. More touring followed, with Alex Bent and Gabe Seeber taking over as needed when Samus' college obligations took precedence. As of now, the band is writing for a new album; according to a reply to a question about the release date on their official Facebook page, an early 2016 release is on the horizon. Additionally, Chase Fraser left or was fired at some point in 2015, and a replacement has yet to be announced; meanwhile, longtime live bassist Sean Martinez has been made an official full-time member and will be performing on the new album.
- ...And Time Begins (2003)
- 2006 Promo
- Diminishing Between Worlds (2008)
- Polarity (2010)
- Axis Mundi (2017)
The band provides examples of the following tropes:
- Absentee Actor: Samus has not played a show with the band since 2012; while he is still an active writer and recording artist, Gabe Seeber has more or less been a full member since 2013.
- Ascended Extra: Sean Martinez. Gabe Seeber also may as well be at this point; while he is still technically a live member, he has played every show with the band since 2013 (save for a tour in 2017 that he wasn't able to make) and is generally treated as a full member.
- Big Fun: Matt Sotelo
- Brutal Death Metal: ...And Time Begins and Axis Mundi.
- Cover Version: They have covered "See Through Dreams" and "Crystal Mountain" (the latter having only been covered live thus far), "Orion", "Desperate Cry", and "Infecting the Crypts".
- Epic Rocking: "Essence of Creation" and "(A Departure of the Sun) Ignite the Tesla Coil" are tied at 6:34.
- Erudite Stoner: Bill, though he abstains from weed usage during and around tours to preserve his voice (and also to avoid hangups at border crossings).
- I Am the Band: Matt Sotelo
- Lead Bassist: Sean Martinez is a Type A, while A.J. Lewandowski, despite merely being a one-time live session player, doubles as a Type C due to his well-known YouTube channel, which is how he got the spot in the first place.
- Lead Drummer: Samus Paulicelli is known for his rather infamous YouTube channel. He's also apparently contributed a fair bit to the songwriting process for Axis Mundi.
- Loudness War: A problem on all their releases, which is particularly jarring on Polarity given the amount of soft instrumental passages.
- Metal Scream: Bill is a solid Type 2.
- Motor Mouth: Bill does this every now and then.
- Miniscule Rocking: "A Brief Odyssey in Time" tops it at 1:03, while "Prelude to the Apocalypse" isn't far behind at 1:25.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Hard ten on Time and Axis, soft ten on Diminishing, and an equal split between a soft ten and a hard nine on Polarity.
- Mushroom Samba: Their sole lyrical theme by way of Bill's psychedelic experiences.
- New Sound Album: Every single one:
- Diminishing was a complete change of sound into a proggy tech act very reminiscent of later-era Death and Monstrosity.
- Polarity dialed down the tech elements slightly and went in a far more prog-oriented direction.
- Axis Mundi is a bit of a throwback to the classic Unique Leader brutal death style present on ...And Time Begins with the flashier elements of their later material intact.
- Nobody Loves the Bassist: They've had some famous names in their ranks over the years, but most of them have been live session players. Joel Horner was a full-time member, but when he left, they didn't bother to find a full-time replacement and just drafted people as needed. Sean Martinez has averted this, as he has been a full-time member for quite a while and tracked his own parts on Axis Mundi.
- Progressive Metal: Polarity.
- Purple Prose: Common within their lyrics, particularly in their post-Time material.
- Rapunzel Hair: Sean Martinez, and it's made his windmills quite famous.
- Revolving Door Band: For a while, but things have been relatively stable recently. At this point it's Bill, Matt, and Sean, with Samus only making studio contributions (as he currently cannot tour), and Gabe Seeber handling most of the live drumming (aside from tours that he can't make because of The Kennedy Veil) until (if) Samus's school and work obligations allow him to play shows again.
- Rockers Smash Guitars: How Matt's old Jackson Warrior bit the dust on the New Hampshire date of their fall 2017 tour. Matt was already in a bad mood, and while the guitar had been on its last legs for some time, he tinkered with the wiring in the hopes that he could get another few nights out of it. Instead, the guitar decided to die for good onstage, and after roughly five minutes of trying to get it to work, Matt whipped it at a wall in anger. The guitar did not survive the impact, and he told the crowd that anyone who wanted it could have it before the band called it a night.
- Technical Death Metal: Diminishing, mostly.
- True Companions: With Suffocation and Odious Mortem; three out of the four members of the latter have been in Decrepit Birth as well, with Anthony Trapani being the lone holdout.
- Signature Style: Winding, intricate compositions with an airy, spacy feel, lots of melodic soloing, and lots of extended instrumental jams.
- Special Guest: Ty Oliver has contributed guest solos on Diminishing and Polarity, and they've had a whole lot more if you count all the live session bassists and drummers they've gone through.
- This Is Unforgivable!: The band's reaction when they found out what Turner had done.
- Walking the Earth: Bill has been voluntarily homeless for decades and lives off the grid in a hut that he built himself.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Occasionally.