Polish death metallers open up their sound to other influences

Death metal fans are in for a treat this month. Decapitated released their new album ‘Blood Mantra’ and as always it is highly anticipated. ‘Blood Mantra’ is Decapitated’s sixth full-length album and with every release the Polish extreme metal artists took it to a new level. The album is also the second publication after the tragic death of drummer and founding member Witold ‘Vitek’ Kieltyka.  His brother, composer and mastermind Waclaw ‘Vogg’ Kieltyka has taken the new formation of the band back to Hertz Studios where the last recording of the band with Vitek was done. This surely was an emotional journey and has the potential to add to the intensity and creativity of ‘Blood Mantra’.

Decapitated start the album with ‘Exiled In Flash’, a death hammer with fast riffs, many breaks and elaborate solos. So far so good. Decapitated address their loyal fan base with a classic technical death metal song that fits right into the band’s back catalogue. But there is also more to it. The song has a slight black metal feeling to it that you couldn’t hear on previous releases. It adds an interesting feature to Decapitated’s sound and creates the sense of progression that you would expect from a band like Decapitated. Another feature that clearly progressed is the darker and more voluminous harsh vocals of lead singer Rasta. He has taken a massive step forward from the last album.

The next two songs ‘The Blasphemous Psalm To The Dummy God Creation’ and ‘Veins’ absolutely take Decapitated’s music to another sphere. Both songs deviate from their trademark sound by combining technical death metal roots with grindcore elements. The songs have a couple of groovier parts, the speed varies and the vocals slightly change to create a more industrial sound. These features mark a new direction for Decapitated. And I like it. Decapitated have a history of transforming existing musical styles and by doing that creating progress. Here they have done it again.

The title track ‘Blood Mantra’ is further evidence to that. The band combines different styles playfully from the groovy riff at the intro to technical death metal sections and breaks and to a hardcore part at neck-breaking speed. The following ‘Nest’ is a brutal deathcore hammer.

If you are already sold on this album then you haven’t even heard the two highlights of this production. ‘Instinct’ is a classic technical death metal song – intense, extreme and brutal. It is a showcase of the bands musicianship and Vogg’s capability of writing superior songs. ‘Instinct’ is full of little details. You can still discover features that you haven’t noticed even after the tenth time listening to the track. Songs like ‘Instinct’ are the reason why technical death metal is sometimes referred to as the jazz of metal.

The band then completely changes the tone with ‘Blindness’. The 7-minute track takes the listener into a whole new world. The repetitive nature of the riff creates a meditative atmosphere that is only underlined by the use of tribal drums. After the intense and diverse journey through the seven songs the band finishes the album with a 4-minute outro. You could look at this track as the only, minor flaw of the album but it somehow fits into the atmosphere that ‘Blindness’ created.

Vogg has done it again. The sole composer has created a masterpiece of extreme metal that combines several different genres without drifting into clichés and without just repeating previous releases. The result is a modern extreme metal album of the highest standard. The variety of sounds differentiates this masterpiece from the too-many death metal albums of the same structure. Great work!

9 of 10

Official band website