Review Summary: Decapitated keep on walking, for better or for worse.
It’s almost impossible to begin describing the current status of Decapitated, the death metal outfit from Poland, without making a noteworthy reference to the tragic car accident that brought the band just an inch away from oblivion in 2007. In all brutal honesty, the chances of this band coming back from the dead were infinitesimal from day one. This is because ante-accident Decapitated weren’t just a metal band comprised of professional musicians making just a living out of it. Decapitated were a true company of friends with mutual and genuine interest in playing extreme (death) metal without having any particular urge in rediscovering the wheel. They recorded their first album (and underground classic) Winds of Creation
, while their age average was below 15 years. Apart from being close friends with each other, they were all extremely talented as musicians and instrumentalists. Drummer Vitek (R.I.P.), for example, was highly and repeatedly praised by the drummer of drummers, Tomas Haake of Meshuggah fame, for his fantastic drumming capabilities. Hence, there was this company of extreme metal aficionados, reaching steadily their critical mass as a band, album after album, only to set new limits in due time. This course of fruitful evolution was abruptly and most unfortunately terminated by the accident. Guitarist Vogg, the only remaining member from the line-up that recorded the band’s most recent album, Organic Hallucinosis
, gathered a new one and the band released a new album, named after the cynical, yet bitter title Carnival is Forever
Carnival Is Forever
is a mix of the elements that assessed this band as highly respected within the hordes of semi-technical death metal, new ideas (for the band altogether) and bits and pieces that co-existed with the band’s main character, although highly suppressed. As for the band’s trademark elements, the presence of the ferocious thrash/death metal guitar riffing of Vogg, the frenzied thrash/death blast beat drumming of Kerim Lechner and the guttural vocals of Rafal Piotrowski, can guarantee multiple pleasures for that particular metal audience who likes to get off while being thrashed in a violent mosh pit. However, for the first time, Vogg’s riffing and soloing and the rhythm section take a substantial distance from the classic death metal practice, coming closer to modern metal in the vein of Nevermore (This Godless Endeavor
era) or Meshuggah (without the poly-rhythms), for example. Furthermore and on certain songs (“Carnival Is Forever”), Vogg successfully implements some really eerie and atmospheric lead guitars, giving extra diversity to the record. These atmospheric leads had been encountered in traces in the band’s previous two albums, The Negation
and Organic Hallucinosis
. The band’s overall sound is superb, as a result of the more than fitting sound production.
While the band’s intentions to make a superb record are inherent, Carnival Is Forever
falls short on certain aspects, making the final product somewhat less proficient than expected. One thing that takes away from the record is the drumming of Lechner. Although it is berzerk as hell, as the songs are succeeding each other, it becomes rather one dimensional. Vogg’s death metal riffing, on the other hand, has been much more inspired in the past (two previous albums). In here, though, it suffers from a slight lack of diversity. Furthermore, the new ideas in rhythm and lead riffing are not always successfully blended with the band’s trademark sound. Lastly, the vocals, although they are quite adequate, they never qualify as a really standout element in Carnival Is Forever
In closing, If Carnival Is Forever
stands for anything, it’s that there is actually life among the ruins that Decapitated were after the tragic car accident in 2007. All Decapitated have to do now is to round the edges of their music, which is as of now, slipstreamed with new and exciting elements that were kept under an indefinite hiatus in the past. Despite the fact that Carnival Is Forever
stands as a half-finished work of art, it most certainly is a strong foundation for the band to step onto so as to go higher. Time is on their side now.
Carnival is Forever