Decapitated – Carnival Is Forever(2011)
Decapitated is a band that, no matter what it does wrong, has secured for itself a place amongst the pioneers of innovative and crushing death metal. Which basically leaves them free to experiment. And if a band choses to experiment instead of playing it safe, I for one am all for it. With Vitek’s regrettable demise, Vogg has managed to pull himself together and put together a new outfit that’s as slick, as tight and as heavy. Thus was ‘Carnival Is Forever’ born. But is it as good? Read on.
The Knife is a somewhat watered down start to the album, but it’s an indication of the sound that you’ll expect to hear predominantly on this release. ‘United’ really takes it up a notch. This is when the album starts pulling you in, especially with an indefatigable drummer who has taken his job as a replacement for Vitek very seriously indeed. And when your adrenaline is all up and pumping, the title track intervenes and calms down proceedings with a clean guitar section paving the way for mid paced, tending to slow palm muted rhythms, after which Homo Sum blisters through with it’s very industrial vibe. ‘404’ probably contains some of the most technically challenging material that we’ve seen from Decapitated. ‘View from a hole’ again slows down proceedings in a fairly ominous fashion, which ‘Pest’ happily corrects. The slightly dissonant tremolo picked notes on Pest tend to invoke an imagery of a swarm of locusts about to lay waste to some agrarian countryside, which is probably indicative of Vogg’s transition from an aggressive, groove crazy death metal guitarist to someone who composes with a lot more thought and depth without letting go of the core sound. ‘Silence’, the ending track (a clean guitar outro), closes proceedings snugly, though realistically the album could’ve very well ended at the song before.
The good thing about the album is that it has a distinctive sound without the individual songs sounding excessively similar. The production on the album is probably the best I’ve heard this year, the guitar tone makes the riffs assume epic proportions, and the drum onslaught is nothing short of breathtaking. The bad thing about the album is that it doesn’t really meet expectations in terms of memorability. The compositions are good, but miss the Nihlity era technicality meets catchiness that made Decapitated the band it is(or rather, was). Too many rhythmic exercises and too little death metal? Possibly, but this might just be the transition album for them, and they’ll hopefully find a way to perfectly mesh the industrial influences with their delightful core sound. For now, this gets an 8/10.