Polish technical death metal kings, Decapitated, return with their latest album called Anticult. Anticult is the band’s 7th studio album. It was released on the 7th of July via Nuclear Blast. Their 7th album on the 7th day of the 7th month – lots of sevens going on here.
Decapitated are well respected in the metal community. They have been very consistent over the years, releasing a stream of hard hitting death metal albums since their formation in 1996. They have always had a technical edge and this has seen them become cited as huge innovators in the genre, helping to inspire other bands to follow them as well.
As a band, they haven’t had it easy at all. While becoming more and more known and successful back in 2007 they were involved in an horrific accident which resulted in the death of Witold “Vitek” Kiełtyka. Vitek was one of the founding members, alongside his brother Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka. Vogg survived. Their vocalist at the time, Adrian “Covan” Kowanek ended up in a coma and didn’t recover very well. Vogg called time on the band.
In 2011, Vogg decided it was time and reintroduced Decapitated on the world releasing the well received Carnival is Forever. This was followed up with 2014’s critically acclaimed Blood Mantra and now, Anticult. The strength and determination of Vogg to continue with Decapitated after all that happened is astonishing and inspiring.
Decapitated today are Vogg on guitars with Rafał “Rasta” Piotrowski on vocals. Hubert Wiecek is the bassist and Michal Lysejko is on the drums.
Anticult has 8 tracks on it and is around 37 minutes long. To be blunt, it’s bloody brilliant. It is a masterclass in technical death metal but also one that is pushing really hard on the genre boundaries. That may not be to everyone’s liking but I love it. The addition of sombre melody and crunching rhythm over just an onslaught of double bass makes this one of the most accessible death metal records I have heard in a long time. That can only be good for the genre and can only be good for Decapitated.
There are real high points on this crushingly good album. It starts as it means to go on with the intense Impulse. A bass laden melodic tone gently introduces the track before high pitched guitar lines and thunderous drum blasts take over. At first the music feels really loose – but it soon settles into a furious riff and galloping drum beat. The vocals are snarled and growled out and it ends to a really neat solo too.
The real stand out thing on Anticult are the riffs. Songs like One Eyed Nation has a superb example of this alongside drumming that sounds very industrial, almost Fear Factory like. The intro riff to Anger Line is amazing too – neck breakingly heavy but still holding rhythm. Kill The Cult has intense and blazing drumming at the intro but the guitar riff plays a chugging riff that forces you to head bang. It also has the best solo on the album which has to be heard.
The drumming throughout is special too. Sounding like machine guns at times, tying up nicely with the bass to inject rhythm at others. The ever increasing speed of the drums alongside the solo in Deathvaluation is mind-blowing. It isn’t all riffs and drums though – there is also a ton of variation on this album. Never, probably my favourite song on the album, is an example of Decapitated pushing death metal boundaries hard.
From the slow, sombre guitar melody at the intro, drums fade into the song and then guitars join for another of those strong riffs. The ascending guitar notes that build into an explosion of furious vocals is great. The vocal work here is amazing. When we reach the chorus, it is more rhythmic and builds into another great guitar melody over ripping bass and drums. Never even breaks down into a slower chugging section with deep and drawn out roars before building in ferocity again until it fades out and closes to the same deep guitar tone from the intro. Awesome.
Whether it is Piotrowski’s supreme vocals or Vogg’s intense guitar lines and solos, everything just feels so perfectly placed and so in sync. The track ends with the excellent Amen, an almost instrumental. It is heavy but slower. Booming drum hits and a slow bass heavy riff builds up into some neat guitar work with some echoed screams in the background before it gently fades out.
An aptly named ending track and probably the perfect way to end what, for me, is one of the best death metal albums of the year so far. Decapitated have put together an exceptional album here with Anticult. It is true to it’s roots. It is heavy and atmospheric but it also looks towards the future with it’s progressive elements. Despite everything this band have been through, they are not only still here. They are putting together albums that will inspire others and define a modern version of a traditional genre.
My only complaint is that at just 8 tracks and 37 minutes, I want more.
Decapitated will play at Bloodstock Festival this year, in the UK in August. Find out more about that here.
Pick Anticult up for yourself, along with other albums and merch over at the band’s website. You can also pick it up from the links below. Check out Decapitated on Facebook and Twitter too for more information on them. Be sure to give them a Like or Follow while you are there.
Anticult by Decapitated (Nuclear Blast)