Decapitated
Carnival is Forever

By now, everyone should be familiar with the Decapitated story, so I won’t waste your time with another rehash of it. Five years after their last studio output, Organic Hallucinosis, Decapitated are back with nearly a completely new line up for album number five, the oddly titled Carnival is Forever.

Being one of the most highly lauded darlings of the underground, expectations were high for Carnival is Forever. Initial reviews and chatter from the interwebs seem to be mixed, but to these ears, the album lives up to and surpasses all expectations. In short, the album can be summed up as Pantera gone death metal and getting their Meshuggah on – seriously, this is one helluva grooving, brutal and technical beast that rarely lets up.

Continuing further down the path the band tread with Organic Hallucinosis, Carnival brings forth even more emphasis on groove and memorable, even catchy, yet brutal as a ten ton hammer hooks. Opening pair “The Knife” and “United” exemplify this right away, and later in the album with “Homo Sum” and “404”, but on the title track, it’s evident that Vogg has some new tricks up his sleeve. Opening the song with some spacey, atmospheric ambiance, it soon delves into more familiar, groove laden territory, but once again resurfaces around the halfway mark for a longer stretch. It’s something new for the Decapitated camp, but here, I’d be inclined to say it’s pulled off well, as it serves as a nice, brief respite from the usual head splitting.

Two of the albums strongest cuts are near the end in “A View From a Hole”, beginning with a slow build for the first two minutes, then kicking in like a hammer to the face that doesn’t doesn’t let up, while “Pest” contains one of the albums meanest riffs, and a breakdown just past the halfway mark that just absolutely pulverizes – I envision the earth crumbling and bones shattering every time this fucking part kicks in – just devastating stuff.

With another twist, the album closes out on a rather somber note, with more spacey ambiance. This time though, it’s a whole four plus minute track titled “Silence”. Vogg has stated it’s dedicated to his brother Vitek, and while that’s cool and all, it doesn’t really sound like it totally belongs, or at the very least, not as it’s own track to close the album – just a little too left field for my tastes maybe.

As for the new guys, vocalist Rafal Piotrowski adequately replaces Covan, bringing a similar, mostly intelligible growl, and I can’t imagine anyone filling in more admirably for lost drum prodigy Vitek than Krimh – he’s no Vitek, but he does one hell of job here bashing the skins in a very Vitek-esque fashion – he’s a good fit.

So does Decapitated still sound like Decapitated? Fuck yeah they do. Are they gonna please everyone with Carnival is Forever? No, I’m sure there are plenty of fans that will hate it and wish they’d return to the rawer, more chaotic Winds of Creation sound, but hey, you can’t win ’em all.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
October 21st, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    yay Larry’s back!
    great write-up, gonna check this out


  2. Commented by: Patrick

    Great review, Larry. Echoes my feelings for the most part. I’d almost go as far as to say this is becoming my favorite Decapitated album. It’s just so groovy and memorable. It could use one more proper song, but I suppose you could argue a good album should leave you wanting more. I have a feeling this album could be the stepping stone to even further greatness once all the band members start really gelling.


  3. Commented by: GW

    Good Review and Great Album. I hear the despair, from their losses, in this recording. I also see alot of comments about Meshuggah, which i don’t hear in the music. Yeah, there are some odd time mathy qualities there but surely it is groovy like the Decap of old.

    This is a piece that stands repeated listening. There is a lot of depth and subliminal voices and sounds mixed in. It’s groovy. It’s fricking heavy. It’s really good.


  4. Commented by: Evil In U

    I love me some Decap but this one has yet to click for me.


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