Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Decapitated - Blood Mantra (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 26/9/2014
Label: Nuclear Blast

“Blood Mantra” CD/DD/LP track listing:

1. Exiled in Flesh 4:05
2. The Blasphemous Psalm To The Dummy God Creation 2:31
3. Veins 5:04
4. Blood Mantra 5:05
5. Nest 6:25
6. Instinct 5:49
7. Blindness 7:37
8. Red Sun 3:01

Bio:

Formed in 1996, Polish Tech Death masters DECAPITATED built a reputation over the years as one of the international leaders of their genre. Over their near 20-year career, DECAPITATED has released five studio albums, which are considered to be some of the most influential death metal releases of the 21st century.

For their sixth full-length record, the band returned to Hertz Studio, located at Bialystok in their native Poland. Recording the new creation, entitled »Blood Mantra«, has proven to be an extremely demanding process for DECAPITATED, as they have never before faced a challenge as testing as the new songs turned out to be. The band cross-bred various styles and sounds, setting the bar higher with this new release. Flirting with various tempos, mixing Death Metal with Grindcore, Black Metal atmosphere with more groove laden beats and Stoner-Rock vibes, there are also modern Metal rhythmic riffs on DECAPITATED’s latest output that hark back to their 2006 release, Organic Hallucinosis.

“I'm certain that the very fact we are again, after nine years, in Hertz studio will evoke the spirit of that album. The vocals sound very promising. Rasta is a much more experienced vocalist compared to the »Carnival Is Forever« album times. And his voice sounds more powerful and deeper“, stated guitarist Waclaw "Vogg" Kieltyka.

»Blood Mantra« is set for a release on September 26, 2014 via Nuclear Blast and will be the first to feature the bands new drummer Michal Lysejko, who joined the foursome in time for their tour with LAMB OF GOD in January 2014.

Commented guitarist Waclaw "Vogg" Kieltyka: “Some of you had a chance to meet him already during tour with LAMB OF GOD this January. Also I want to say THANK YOU to the rest of the people who took a challenge and sent their video for an audition”.

With their emphasis on inventive songwriting and technical prowess, DECAPITATED has earned the respect of their musical peers and have gained a devoted fan base. Vogg, the band’s musical mastermind, creates songs that often feature blazing tempos, crushing riffs and memorable guitar solos – all of which can be expected on their new release, Blood Mantra.

The Band:

Waclaw "Vogg" Kieltyka | Guitars
Michal Lysejko | Drums
Rafal "Rasta" Piotrowski  | Vocals
Pawel Pasek | Bass

Review

Decapitated’s journey through death metal has gone from strength to strength. The consistently virtuosic writing and playing has produced some of the finest technical and straightforward death metal to date, with many new bands now sighting them as one of their main inspirations. A lot of what makes them so exceptional is the diversity of the albums. Instead of sticking to constraints of a writing style, they constantly change their game, while keeping a central groove. The groove is probably the only thing that they have kept throughout their career, and is what gives them their signature sound.

This album is no exception, and in fact ramps up the groove to near Meshuggah (albeit 10 times faster) style. The use of off beat chugging and riffing counterbalanced with the double kick on the 16th of the beat creates this devastating death metal groove that I’ve yet to hear another death metal band replicate. They slide from groove centred chugging to typical death metal tremolo picking seamlessly, proving that even though they have their own sound, they can slip into that classic death metal style with ease, blast beats and all.

The new album takes their sound in a slightly easier to listen to direction, more akin to their first album. The songs have a slower more controlled feel to them, and feature more straightforward riffing over technical single note picking. I’ve no problem with this direction, as the first album to me is a death metal masterpiece.

But what it lacks in some songs, it makes up for in others. They haven’t completely lost their tech death feel; some songs feature more technical and blasting guitar and drum work. The only gripe I have however is that I feel as if the tones were created with a more riffy approach, meaning some of that stupidly fast tremolo picking that guitar god ‘Vogg’ does is slightly lost in the mush of gain. The greatest aspect of the diversity in tracks on the new record is that none of it feels like filler. It just goes on and on doing exactly what you want it to do, yet surprising you with how well composed it is.

Production wise, it is yet again another step up. The bass and drums have such a rich sound, with every note and hit so prominent, it should be taken as an example for future death metal albums to base their production on. The fantastic production doesn’t stop there however, the vocals are some of the clearest on a Decapitated album, and due to the overall production being no where near as harsh in the higher frequencies, the rhythmic devices Rasta uses are perfectly audible.

For any Decapitated fan, this will be a welcome addition to the now huge collection of material this band have put out, and for new listeners it’s a perfect introduction to Poland’s grooviest death metallers. Thanks for reading Y’all!

Words by: Asher G. Alexander

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