Decapitated – Carnival Is Forever

In late 2007, with four albums already under their belt, Decapitated’s career suddenly came into question after a tour bus accident which took the life of drummer Witold "Vitek" Kie?tyka and left singer Adrian "Covan" Kowanek in a coma. While Covan would slowly recover, Vitek’s brother and Decapitated guitarist Wac?aw "Vogg" Kie?tyka was left to mourn and decide the future of the band. Four years later Vogg has reformed Decapitated with all new members and they are set to release a crushing new album titled “Carnival Is Forever.”

After such a tragic accident I don’t think anyone would have been surprised to find that Decapitated had come to an end. I know I did not expect to see a comeback. So when I first heard that a new album was imminent my ears perked up and I started salivating for a taste of this new Decapitated 2.0. I talked to Flori over at Nuclear Blast and he was kind enough to hook me up with an advance listen to “Carnival Is Forever” so I could bring you this review prior to the U.S. release next week. Many thanks!

“Carnival Is Forever” opens with “The Knife” and the song itself wastes no time getting to the point (hey an unintended pun!) “The Knife” immediately grabs you by the scruff of the neck and just pummels you into submission. I’m getting goose bumps over how bad-ass this sounds. In my opinion this is what straight up technical death metal should sound like.

The music is fast and unrelenting yet does not sacrifice fret board wizardry in the name of speed; there is plenty of crisp chunky riffage to help keep you regular. Filling Vitek’s shoes on drums is a daunting task, the man was an amazing drummer, but Kerim "Krimh" Lechner is no slouch either. He tears those drums UP! Rafa? Piotrowski does a great job on vocals as well. Harsh yet intelligible, I could not ask for more. The vocals fit very well with the music and are perfectly placed in the mix.

Clocking in at an epic eight minutes forty nine seconds the title track is the longest song on the album. The first minute of the track gives us a chance to slow down and catch our breath as does another quiet break about three quarters through the song. The brief moments of respite showcase perfect contrast with the heavier sections to make what is my favorite song on the album. The beginning build-up of “A View from a Hole” is pretty cool too. The final track on the album, “Silence”, is a clean guitar instrumental that serves as sort of a post-workout cool-down walk. Can’t have our muscles cramping up after a go in the pit can we?

Beginning to end this is a solid offering. I’m putting all the other death metal bands out there on notice: Decapitated has set the new death metal standard. Do try to keep up.