Review Summary: Decapitated's first recordings prove to be up to par with the albums that got them recognized by metalheads worldwide.
Decapitated is a band that doesn't need much of an introduction, but for the uninformed here is something that should sum it up for you. Decapitated is a technical death metal band from Poland that formed in 1996, Cemeteral Gardens, their first demo was released one year later.The music featured on this demo is surprisingly precise and mature considering the members of the band ranged from twelve to sixteen years old when it was recorded. For a demo the sound quality is decent, not exactly album quality though.
Vogg's guitarwork is as good as it gets at his young age and he proves he can hang with the best of them when it comes to pushing out some punishing riffs at break neck speeds. The playing is fairly technical and foreshadows what Decapitated would do in the future. The solos on the album are played beautifully and blend with the songs well. There really isn't really anything crazily eccentric happening in terms of variation here, just constant pulverizing riffs and mouth watering solos thrown in for good measure.
Vitek's drumming on this record is fantastic. It's hard to believe that it was a twelve year old behind the kit during the recording of this. He plays with vicious speed and easily gives one of the best performances on the demo. You can tell by his playing that he was going to go somewhere in the world of music, it's too bad he was taken at such a young age. He has been regarded as one of the best drummers in death metal and this demo would prove no different.
Sauron (now vocalist for Polish band Masachist) delivers his vocals with a decent amount of energy but his range leaves a little to be desired. Considering the music being played is so good the attention isn't focused on him for the duration of the demo anyway. His voice is raspy but at the same time it has a croaky quality to it, he sticks with this approach in all four tracks. Marcin Rygiel's bass playing is good when it can be heard. Most of the demo you can hear him thumping away in the background back occasionally he gets lost behind the loud guitar and drum sounds, you have to keep in mind that this is a demo and doesn't have the best mix in the world.
Decapitated plays around with some other elements for their first demo as well. On the track Way to Salvation
they experiment with weaving synth with their fairly raw technical death sound and it actually turns out to be very cohesive, creating one of the better moments on the demo. Moments like this make this demo worth checking out for any fan of the genre. It is easy to see why Way to Salvation
was brought back later on the bands debut album Winds of Creation. The production is tolerable and the fact that this is a demo shouldn't be enough to detour someone from listening to this great slab of death metal. So all in all Cemeteral Gardens earns itself a solid four out of five. Fans of Decapitated should get a kick out of this as well as fans of the genre as a whole. If you are going to check out a demo make it this one.
Way to Salvation