(This seems to be album-review day at NCS. Following our Byfrost review, NCS writer TheMadIsraeli now assesses the new album from Poland’s Decapitated.)
Yeah. It’s that time. You’ve been looking forward to this, I have, we all have, so now you’re wondering what do I, the most boss of all metal-loving Jews, have to say about it? For all you know, I could just be wanting to rub it in the faces of all of you that I have this album (which I do) and you don’t, but well… how do I put this…
This kicks ass. This destroys universes. This is the purest, blackest, weightiest form of sonic nihilism laid to audio I’ve heard all year. And you know what the sad part is? People are gonna hate this because it isn’t “true”, or “kvlt”, or what-the-fucking-ever, whose-it’s, what’s-it’s the elitists like to spout nowadays. Why is this though? That’s simple. Carnival Is Forever rules because it isn’t old Decapitated. This is a rejuvenated band, with a new sound, new look, new attitude, and new sense of purpose who’ve abandoned their tech death past to go into a much more modern sound. I can just see the elitists complaining because what is it that this album has which makes it so, like, good? Well, we have groove, lots of groove, we got djent, we got progressive song structures, we got clean sections, we have Divine Heresy-machine-precision-like chugging, we have blast-beat frenzies, we have shredding solos — this album has everything.
So where do I start in actually reviewing this and stopping the proverbial salivation over it? Three bands immediately come to mind in describing this album: Divine Heresy, Meshuggah, and Nevermore. If you’re complaining already, I highly suggest you order your whamburgers and french cries pronto. This album has no time for your tom-foolery. (more after the jump . . .)
The first song that rapes your soul is called “The Knife”. I think a more appropriate title would’ve been “REALLYREALLYFUCKINGFAST”, but that’s just me. Striking chords of the faster side of Nevermore and a very distinct Meshuggah “Destroy Erase Improve” vibe, the song just destroys you with speeds comparable to, maybe even faster than, the oh so mighty Vader. It quickly demonstrates that the heir to Vitek’s drum throne known as “Krimh” is an octopus behind the drum kit. It seriously sounds like the man has 4 legs and 4 arms as the opening drumming salvo crashes with devastating cacophony before the song even gets into its verse.
The next song “United” brings in some of the small traces of what’s left of death metal in Decapitated’s sound, channeling their previous album Organic Hallucinocosis, but with more brutality and a thrash sensibility that induces whiplashing, neck-snapping, headbanging delights. The breakdown in this song unleashes grooves that only an insane man wouldn’t compulsively smash his head into a brick wall over. Why? Because it’s just that brutal.
You may be wondering, by the time the intro to the third song, the title track, hits, how this album is going to flow, and it’s at this time you should catch onto the fact that every song on here is totally unique and different. “Carnival Is Forever” opens up with an eerie clean section before breaking into a monstrous Gojira-esque chugging plod. After the post-clean section intro it’s all about brutally low-tuned churning grooves that grind bones and sharpen fangs. This 8-minute behemoth is repetitive with a purpose, that purpose being to turn you into a pile of finely ground dust by the time it’s finished with you. The only time it deviates from its total of 3 riffs is to return to the clean intro near the end to bring you into a state of cold, harsh, isolationist emptiness before it finishes you off.
“Homo Sum” may very well compete with Meshuggah’s “Bleed” as an endurance test. This song is an M-60 with a never-ending supply of ammo, from beginning to end, of Divine Heresy-like machine-tight chugging and flawless grooves driven by consistent never-ending 16th-note double bass. There is no mercy here, no hand-holding, no nice and easy, tender and loving ushering into this. You should be begging for mercy at this point if you’re a core-loving sycophant, but you won’t — you’ll want more, and if you’re a manly man of manly quality you’ll endure.
“404” decides it’s time to turn up the sick-ass groove-o-meter and bring in some of that syncopated Nevermore business. The intro and verse of this song sound like the most brutal tribal dance tune you’ll ever hear until it kicks into a very Loomis-like riff that is — gasp! — what’s that? Melodic? And it’s a captivating riff no less. If you don’t groove to this djenting I think you’re insane. Actually if you don’t groove to this djenting I think it’s time to trade in your testicles, because if you have the nerve to compare this to pussy-ass, radio-friendly bull schlong like Absent Distance, I think you’ve just lost your metal credentials. That syncopated grooving like a boss only serves to lure you into destruction with a section that calls back the speed presented on “The Knife” and devastates you with some Behemoth-like blasting action. Also, an insane shred solo of epic proportions awaits you here.
“A View From A Hole” demonstrates that the groove action isn’t over yet. Bringing in a very eerie series of strummed clean octaves as the section expands, more guitars enter into it, the drums intensify until the distortion kicks in, and after ushering you in with an ominous drone, the song brings in some very thrashy riffage supported by some really cool groove-action on the drums. The syncopation going on here is of the same technical ecstasy as on “404”, but soon drops it all to completely switch gears into full-speed-ahead blasting and thrashing frenzies. The riffs are dissonant, sinister, layered, and intense in the way ALL the riffs on the album are, but it’s now that I finally address Vogg’s guitar playing. I haven’t heard riffs sounding this invigorated from the man in Decapitated’s ENTIRE CAREER. He’s on absolute fire here, hammering away with the utmost conviction and tightness.
The finish line finally comes into sight with the song only known as “Pest”, which continues on with the syncopated groove stylings that pervade these last 2 songs and has the catchiest verse on the entire album. Calling back to something off of a 90’s grindcore record, it destroys you with twisted, dissonant, grinding might, but provides a breather from the massive weight every time the verse’s churning chords hit you. Ambient guitar lines overhang various parts of the song to give it an eerie feel, a feeling of helplessness, a feeling of absolute life-consuming devastation. The song then hits the best breakdown on the album, mustering some downright imperialistic trudging supremacy of massive proportions. The song resumes its grooving devastation, reaching a climax of thrashing and blasting that ends in nothing but a sheer war of feedback, pure noise, static, and a final pained scream — and then . . . “Silence”: A contemplative, Opeth-like, clean drone that continues on for 4 minutes. Leaving you helpless. Alone. Cold. Empty. Dead.
So is it safe to say this album is awesome? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Only one way to judge for yourselves — get it when the time comes, and the time is July 12 in North America and July 15 in Europe. Those are the album’s official release dates via Nuclear Blast. You can find out how to buy this beast via this location on Decapitated’s Facebook site. The first single from the album is now being streamed exclusively at Guitar World (we wrote about that yesterday). This trailer will give you a taste of other songs, too: