The very fact that Decapitated release this record is a shocking feat in itself. In 2007 mainman Waclaw ‘Vogg’ Kieltyka lost his brother and then-drummer of the band Vitek Kieltyka in a tragic bus crash off the border of Russia, suggesting that the Polish metallers would halt operations. Whilst the band are back on their collective feet with fifth studio record Carnival Is Forever, the line-up changes have been monumental – Kieltyka the only original member left in the now-three-piece act.
And it’s not just the line-up that has changed. With the adjustments, Decapitated have morphed somewhat from the technical death metal that defined them, dabbling into new subgenre ‘djent’ for part of their inspiration while also fusing old-school death metal into their complex motherboard of brutality.
The tendency to chug out tons of thick vomiting riffs can become a tad monotonous and if the record was any longer than the 42-minutes it already is, then there would be a serious problem in remaining interested. Carnival Is Forever can maintain this level of commitment in its first spin, especially when there’s some rare but welcome breaks of toned-down ambience – Silence providing the soothing, Vaseline outro as post-black ‘n’ blue treatment.
But on the whole, it does struggle in justifying a third or fourth listen. Title track Carnival Is Forever is the first track to initiate any remote interest in the record, and it’s the two tracks that follow it that appear strongest on the album. Although slightly repetitive from the outset, Homo Sum’s introductory riffage is solid and 404 is a particular highlight for the grand guitar picking involved and all-round bouncing bass lines.
If you’re a dealer in tech-death, we suggest Origin’s Entity as another face-peeling alternative to this record. Nevertheless, we’re pleased Decapitated are back and we salute Kieltyka’s spirit in such tough circumstances.