When one uses the term “decay,” there is an implication or sense of rot—a sort of putrescence that only comes from the loss of life. Even reading the word, you can almost feel the sting in your nostrils, sense the wafting aroma of despair and desiccated flesh filling your nasal cavity. It is synonymous with death—bleak, grim and dismal. But Decayed Existence, on the other hand, have been a death metal band for well over twenty years and have never been more alive. Refusing to die and far from rotted out and wasted away, Decayed Existence craft gritty, grisly and dark death metal that overwhelms the listener with blistering brutality and over-the-top intensity from the very first second they’re heard.
Formed in 1991, Decayed Existence draws influence chiefly from their old-school death metal contemporaries: Death, Chuck Shuldinder, Sepultra and Kreator, but with a twist of originality and flair for the extreme that comes only from nearly three decades of experience. Erupting from Redding, California, Decayed Existence wrote and recorded their first three-track demo in 1992, titled The Ancient Ones—however, shortly before it was set to be completed, the studio where the demo was recorded burned to the ground, taking the band’s debut release with it. While this ominous event might have been enough to shake some bands out of existence, Decayed Existence pushed forward, refocusing and working more diligently than ever. The band’s six-track follow-up, Existence to Decay was released shortly after, solidifying the group’s position in the heart of the Northern Californian metal scene.
Decayed Existence would remain a staple in Shasta County’s metal scene for years to come, although the mid-90s would prove a crucial time and turning point in the band’s message and music. Founding member and percussionist, Harry Rocco decided to put the band on hold and focus on himself, developing his Christian faith and discovering a love and passion for spreading the Word and love of God—which became a new center for the message of Decayed Existence. 1997 saw the band release their first religious release, In Due Time, which was quickly followed by Violent by Design, serving as Decayed Existence’s final release with that line-up before other members moved on to other projects. Refusing to be dissuaded, Rocco moved back to Shasta County several years later and Decayed Existence was reborn in the mid 2000s. Releasing several albums (Age of Intolerance and Depopulation, along with several EPs and more albums in years to follow), Decayed Existence proved popular conception false, growing with each passing year instead of succumbing to death and decay. Simultaneously staying true to a Christian message without sacrificing brutality and aggression, Decayed Existence have been known for bringing crushing heaviness to California with jaw-dropping live performances and sinister, stunning studio albums for longer than many of their metalhead following have been alive—and with a 2017 signing to Rottweiler Records, it wouldn’t appear that they’re going to be slowing down any time soon.