Review Summary: A tidy marriage between their tech-death and groove sides results in The Negation remaining one of Decapitated's best efforts.
Decapitated's slow shift to a groove-metal style over the years has been sufficiently steady that there is a clear but subtle delineation in tone for every album they've produced. The fairly traditional technical death metal of Winds of Creation
gave way for the more rhythmic, less skank-beat driven Nihility
, and Organic Hallucinosis
's threatening polyrhythmic sound was tidily reorganized into the accessible and catchy Carnival is Forever
. However, at points, the differences have been more subtle.
Capping off the run of the initial lineup of Decapitated, The Negation
in many ways feels like a refinement of Nihility
. The same core sound of mid-paced groovy tech death remains, without the shift into looser and more experimental song structures like on Organic Hallucinosis. If anything, the overall adjustments seem to be a very slight decrease in speed and technical edge, but with more immediate songwriting and better hooks to compensate. There are fewer "dud" parts that don't quite maintain the momentum or distract from the core of the songs, and the songs generally are a bit tighter with less repetition of parts.
On top of the subtle refinements in songwriting, the overall breadth of sound and pace is slightly improved too. With a clearer understanding of their groovier side, tracks like The Empty Throne
and Three-Dimensional Defect
are simultaneously headbangable and viciously tight; the latter foreshadows the more polyrhythmic sound of the following albums with tight, machine tremolo picking interspersed between great solos and controlled technical riffage. The relatively simple trailblazers The Fury
and Lying and Weak
help develop the necessary initial momentum for the album and both showcase the more streamlined songwriting, with fewer different parts but with great hooks that leave them much more memorable than comparable tracks on prior albums. Everything really comes together with the title track and Long-Desired Dementia
, which are the two most menacing tracks with thunderous dissonant grooves and rabid spidery tech-riffing respectively. With one of the band's shorter tracklists, the album doesn't overstay its welcome at all and is well varied throughout.
Likely the catchiest album of their tech-death era, The Negation is nonetheless a satisfyingly pummelling effort from Decapitated and manages to be the most well executed of their post-Winds albums. With very little fat and some of their best organized tracks, there is very little to complain about bar a pretty brickwalled mastering job, and for those looking for a fun, accessible and brutal tech-death experience, look no further.