Decapitated are back!!! One of the most highly anticipated releases for me this year is the band’s new album “Blood Mantra.” It finally hits the shelves tomorrow, September 30, 2014, via Nuclear Blast Records. I first heard Decapitated and their excellent album “Nihility” back in 2002, and have been hooked ever since. Most of you know the tragedies and triumphs that have befallen this band, so every new record feels like another small victory. Guitarist and sole original member Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka continues to move forward. He is joined by vocalist Rafal “Rasta” Piotrowski, new bassist Pawel Pasek, and new drummer Michal Lysejko. The teasers I had heard up to this point had only amped up my excitement, so I couldn’t wait to hit play.
The album opening is filled with ominous tones, then Vogg’s signature riffs blast in on ‘Exiles in Flesh.’ ‘The Blasphemous Psalm to the Dummy God Creation’ kicks it up another notch, laying down some heavy punishment for the next two minutes and thirty one seconds. ‘Veins’ and the title track, both still heavy, but more simplistic compositions compared to most Decapitated songs, are the first of many tracks highlighting the subtle changes the band has made on this record. ‘Nest’ is filled with creepy, dissonant, underlying guitar tones while Vogg, Pasek, and Lysejko rip in unison over the top. ‘Instinct’ is a variation on a familiar theme. Just when you think you’ve got the song figured out, Decapitated turns it around with an almost breakdown of a bridge. The album closes out with the duo of ‘Blindness’ and ‘Red Sun.’ ‘Blindness’ almost has a tribal feel to it a la Sepultura, but with a Decapitated spin. This bleeds into ‘Red Sun,’ an ambient outro that sounds like the ending credits to a gut wrenching horror movie. It is a fitting ending to the underlying creepiness that is prominent throughout the album.
Recorded in Hertz Studio, located at Bialystok in their native Poland, “Blood Mantra” sounds to me like a cross between their brutal 2006 album “Organic Hallucinosis” and their fantastic comeback album, 2011’s “Carnival Is Forever.” It has a familiar aura, but with injections of melody and groove those classic records do not have. I think Decapitated is trying to remain fresh and keep the familiar fan on their toes. “Blood Mantra” is a good next chapter in the story that is Decapitated.