Review Summary: There's no room for respite here.
After returning from the ashes in 2009 from a terrible accident which resulted in the death of Decapitated’s drummer Vitek, in 2008, Vogg reassembled and delivered an album that was not only an excellent statement, proving the band still meant business, but was also a great progression: utilizing an array of melodic elements to their death metal palate, resulting in a refreshing sound which took Vogg’s song-writing skills to a new level. However, their last album Mantra
was one of 2014’s biggest disappointments for me; it wasn’t a bad album by any means, but lacked the panache and memorability its former pertained, and was a bit drab and formulaic. So, here we are, 3 years on from a minor blip to the systems, and it seems focus has been redirected and a slightly different blueprint has been drawn up to work on.
It’s worth mentioning right off the bat that Anticult
might piss a few fans off – walking on a dangerous tightrope of new ideas: the most notable is a distinct lack of fretboard gymnastics and intricate structures, relying on a Pantera-like groove and a large emphasis on mood-making from its guitars. Compositions are much simpler, weaving into the standard verse-chorus structure, with the odd solo pleaser thrown in for good measure. And even though on paper it could look as though the band have missed the mark in a big way, it’s actually a very enjoyable record, mainly down to two things: the first being a great production, which can be crushing at times, the likes of “One-eyed Nation” and “Deathvaluation” offer a scathing sound that concludes these guys aren’t going soft. Secondly, it’s one of the most concise LPs I’ve heard this year; an 8-track monster running entirely on lean tissue, it doesn’t leave an inch of room for you to breath and by the end of the cycle you’ll be eager to hit the repeat button again just to try and take it all in properly. And in today’s metal world, an album running at this pace is quite uncommon and refreshing. Of course, a great production and a short run-time don't equate to a solid album, so it's a good job the tracks at hand are well put together. The groove shifting "Kill the Cult" or the sludgy riff on the closing track, "Amen", are just a couple of great moments found here. While Rasta’s vocals excellently compliment the music, ensuring the complete package delivers a great brutality throughout, with the odd moment of experimentation with the likes of “Earth Scar”, which hears Rasta subtly toying with the idea of singing over screaming.
Overall, there really is little to fault with an album like Anticult
; sure, it deviates quite a bit from the technical aspects of the band, and instruments take a backseat compared to previous works, but the band have hardly gone soft or had a drastic shake-up; this is still most definitely a Decapitated record. Its to-the-point song-writing and quick run-time ensure the repetitive song structures never overstay their welcome or have you twiddling your thumbs. There’s nothing original here, sure, but what this album does offer is good, clean, brutal fun. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A