Last year, Polish technical death band, Decapitated, released the highly anticipated follow-up to their critically-acclaimed Carnival is Forever. Since their debut release in 2000, this band has developed a reputation of being fairly consistent with the style of each release, as well has never really having any poor albums. Having gotten much better over time (their first two releases were better than average, but nothing compared to the three that followed), it’s safe to say that they are very much among the much better and most popular bands in there genre. One of the main reasons that I waited to write this review is because I felt that the initial reaction to this album of almost everyone (myself included) was kind of exaggerated and overly judgmental. Those of you that remember the release of the title track from this album know exactly what I’m talking about.
Blood Mantra, the title track off of the most recent Decapitated album took everyone by surprise with its (as most people described it) nu metal vibe. Upon the first 5 listens, I could hear this nu metal vibe loud and clear; and like most people, I was honestly not too attracted to this choice of direction. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t still get the album and listen to it every once in a while, but it was definitely a major letdown after Carnival is Forever. But now, fast-forward one year, and a few days ago I decided to give it another honest listen, because usually if you don’t like something the first time, it’s never a bad idea to give it a few weeks (or months) before picking it up again. Because you never know how much different it’ll sound the second time.
In retrospect, yes, the album DOES have some groove and some bounce, but not that of a nu metal band, but more so like the kind you hear from a thrash death band like DevilDriver, Battlecross, or Soulfly (no, not their first three albums). But other than that, there really hasn’t been that much change, so I think that the world heard some extra groove on that new single, someone called out “nu metal!” and the world overreacted. But that bounce is still present.
The sound of the guitar distortion can have a huge effect on what a metal album sounds like. One thing that I loved about Carnival is Forever is that the band abandoned the really loud, metallic, sawblade-like guitar distortion for a much fuzzier distortion. Well, I guess that was just a one-time thing because they’ve returned to their usual obnoxious metallic distortion, except this time sounding a bit more polished and refined (probably to help compliment the extra groove this album has). The drumming is a bit more chaotic, as I said in my review of Carnival is Forever, this is the best vocalist that Decapitated has had yet and I really hope he sticks with them, and the band for the most part is very tight as they have always been.
Although not remarkable, this is a good solid technical death album and I would recommend it to just about anyone. There isn’t anything bad about it; it’s just nothing like Carnival is Forever, Negation, or Organic Hallucinosis. Hopefully they continue making quality death metal and we see more of them in the future. I’m extremely excited to FINALLY be seeing them later this year with Soulfly and Soilwork. To conclude this article, I am going to give this album an above-average score of 14/20.