Carnival is Forever
Have faith and do not judge this book by its cover!
You could look at the latest tech death metal offering from Poland’s Decapitated in one of two ways. Is it a comeback album or not? I truly think the answer to that is both yes and no. Yes, it is a comeback album in that it’s the band’s first release after the tragic events that claimed the life of drummer Witold "Vitek" KieÅ‚tyka and put vocalist Adrian "Covan" Kowanek into a coma. Also, there was a period of disbandment and indecision as to the band’s future as you would expect after that tragic accident. But also, no, it’s not a comeback in the ways that Carnival is Forever feels like another brutal album from Decapitated, delivering everything you’d expect from founding member and key writer WacÅ‚aw "Vogg" KieÅ‚tyka, and then some, to boot.
It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since Organic Hallucinosis but then again, a lot has happened both to and for Decapitated since that time. Of course the aforementioned events play a big part in the band’s history since then, but they have also found a new home with Nuclear Blast Records as well. After Vogg announced that the band would continue in March 2009, it wasn’t long until the band’s new members were revealed – drummer Kerim "Krimh" Lechner (formerly of Thorns of Ivy), vocalist RafaÅ‚ Piotrowski (Ketha) and bassist Filip "Heinrich" HaÅ‚ucha (Vesania, Masachist). The band hit the road around the world getting back into the groove before returning to the studio for album number five.
A cacophonous blast of drums and down tuned guitars rumble violently as The Knife brings Decapitated back to life formally. It isn’t long before the track settles into a trademark groove that is easily associated with Decapitated. Furious, angular riffs and pummelling rhythms drive this truly brilliant opening cut and that is pretty much the staple for the entire album. But that really shouldn’t be of too much of a surprise to Decapitated fans. A hint of melody appears with United and the subtlety of it really feels like Demanufacture era Fear Factory, but with the intensity that we expect from these Polish death metal masters.
In fact, Vogg has truly delivered some amazing riffage across all of Carnival is Forever. The diversity of the epic just sub nine minute title track is a prime example of that. All the while, drummer Krimh truly slays with machine gun like precision. It must be noted that as true to form as this album is – and it is undoubtedly Decapitated in every manner – there are a few new sounds and influences appearing throughout. They are mostly subtle – such as the ambient guitar noise like passage in the latter stages of Homo Sum such the slower and again melodic droning guitars in A View from a Hole. Then there’s the not so subtle with the truly beautiful instrumental album closer Silence. Vogg’s clean guitars are truly haunting on this absolutely brilliant finale that shows a gentle nature to a beast that has typically shown itself as one hell of a monster.
I crowed in my recent Autopsy review that they showed the once mighty Morbid Angel how to deliver the goods with an album. Well, you can add Decapitated to that list as well now. Carnival is Forever is yet another amazing release from these Polish tech death metal masters. Just don’t judge it by the artwork and you’ll be fine.
(Nuclear Blast Records/Riot! Entertainment)