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Decapitated – Blood Mantra

Published:

Genre: Death Metal
Country: Poland
Label: Nuclear Blast
Year: 2014

Decapitated, a band that goes against the divine laws of how metal should be and this is why I like it so much. After “Carnival is Forever”, the truth is that I expected the next album with great interest even though I had many doubts about whether the band would ever be able to take the whole thing just a little further.

So what happened in “Blood mantra”? The first thing that made me a great impression is the maddening sound of the guitar, which is almost unreal. At one time it is rough and dry and in the other moment is juicy and rich. With a seminar approach on gain, that is being stiff as well as slippery at the same time, like a giant rock wrapped in a towel hitting you in the head. I was so impressed by the timbre of the strings that I was tempted to start looking for EVH 5150III although I’m really suspicious that we are dealing with a very strange blending, -who knows what else is inside-. The second, and unfortunately negative, surprise for me this time is the unacceptable sound on drums. I really did not believe to my ears when I realized how poor they choose to be on spending for the rhythm section of the album. Seedy drum-machiny plastic sound that is coming from another age and simply just doesn’t fit anymore in modern music, which by the way finally turns (majestically) to the organic sound of the 90’s once again. This is something unexpected especially from a band with such a budget range, that you would expect at least something much more elegant.

Decapitated - Blood Mantra 2

Overtaking the technical details, what we are dealing with here, without having any doubt is an album full of musicality. Beyond the endless and relentless as always groovy sound of the band, I was impressed by some industrial (as the bridge in the middle of “Blood Mantra”) or even crust melodies (listen to the bridge in the middle of “Veins”) that Decapitated attempted to digest in their compositions. Especially the most industrial passages reminded me of the middle period of Napalm Death. In terms of musicianship all band members are top notch, no surprise for that, as Vogg -and his “filthy hands”- perhaps is the greatest of his generation but on the other hand the soloing wasn’t so damaging to my ears as in ”Carnival..”, plus I found the solos less inspired and garrulous. The strong card of the album are the vocal lines , with the front man allowing all the tracks to breathe while the eerie overtones of his voice paint the tray with a more post apocalyptic tone.

The song that stands out is ““The Blasphemous Psalm to the Dummy God Creation”, which the band had streamed on youtube and with a couple words is plain epic and easily classifies amongst the best pieces of modern death discography. To tell you the truth, I would expect from the band not to reveal their strongest song so early, but unfortunately I confess that I have not found something stronger than this moment in the rest of the album. Another great moment of the album is “Veins”, which reminded me of the middle period of Napalm Death with some touches of Tragedy and made it not too hard for me to love. A third piece that stands out is the “Moth Defect” which is a good example that explains the reasons why we loved the “Carnival Is Forever”. If I have to answer whether the band has put some fillers just to make the album longer, the answer would be positive, unfortunately (check “Nest”, “Blindness”, “Red Sun”).

 As for the lyrics of the album we hear stories about the end and after the end of the world. Personally when the verses are not sociopolitical, they say absolutely nothing to me and I overlook them, but this concept is a theme I like. Especially after I read, some years ago “The Road” from Cormac McCarthy, which is now one of my favorite novels, I began to dig these kind of stories and I pay attention in such concept lyrics, as in relevant movies (also video games). Finally I think the artwork cover is cool and generally conforming to the atmosphere of the album.

So in conclusion I hoped Decapitated would create a flawless album -without any weak moment, any Achilles heel- and they disappointed me. Not only did they not achieve that but they drew a target on my heart as well. Mostly the sound on drums (thankfully on vinyl sounds better) and the 2-3 tracks that are clearly weaker than the others made “Blood Mantra” perforated in any bona fide review. I will not recommend it to someone who does not know the band, don’t start your discovery with this record, but on the other hand if you liked “Carnival Is Forever” take your chances on “Blood Mantra” too, because the good times here are epic, indeed.

4/6

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