On November 2nd, 2007 Decapitated band’s existence would come to a standstill. The tragic automobile accident a few days earlier left their drummer, Witold “Vitek” Kieltyka a founding member and brother to Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka (guitarist) deceased and also Adrian “Covan” Kowanek (Vocalist) in a coma. For obvious reasons, Decapitated went on hiatus, many of us felt we would never see these young death metallers again in some form of Decapitated. In 2009 Vogg announced he was looking to continue the band and was looking for a drummer and a vocalist.
In comes Carnival Is Forever, 2011’s release and Decapitated’s first album since the accident. To release an album of any magnitude is a feat in of itself, let alone a solid one, but Carnival Is Forever is above all this. Carnival Is Forever is not only the best Decapitated album to date, but it is also one of the most definitive death metal (technical death if you want to get technical) albums released in the last 10 years.
The raw emotions, the brutal power of Carnival Is Forever is real and it shows in every technical riff, every pounding double bass and every shriek. Lyrically, the album was written by Jarosław Szubrycht of the former band Lux Occulta and it is definitely one of the best written death metal albums in a long time. A snippet I picked out from “United,” the second song is below:
I was the crippled Spartan child thrown over the cliff
I was the villain crucified at the right hand of Iscariot
I was the black albino torn to pieces by his own tribe
I was the woman that knew the herbs burnt at the stake
Blasting drums and a guitar solo follows these lines with a punishing finish, but this song is just warming you up to all that is Carnival Is Forever. Later, in “Homo Sum” lyrical content such as this haunts you:
I’ve been a burden since day one
Stranger in the strange land
Blind to what you wanted me to see
Numb to what you wanted me to be
rather philophobic than philosopher
But one thing I know for sure
If I’d free myself from the world
The world wouldn’t mind at all
If you want to make god laugh
Tell him about your plans
Erase empathy, abandon hope
The vocal work of Rafał “Rasta” Piotrowski really brings to life the lyrics of Jarosław, he has a haunting almost hardcore sounding death growl. You can understand every painful word as it continues its assault. Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka, guitarist hits everything with perfection. The guitar work is technical, fast and exhilarating. All at the same time, solo work is in perfect spots and nothing ever feels forced, which can quickly become the case with technical bands. There are so many layers to each song it really takes multiple listens to soak it all in. The drums are fast, and stand up with the best of the best in the death world.
I would quickly like to mention the artwork, only because I just feel it fits this album in its entirety. Everything about this release is near perfection (music, album name, production, lyrical content) and the artwork is right in there with the rest. The album is about 40 minutes and there isn’t a dull moment to be found. Slowdowns, crazy guitar work, pounding drums and awesome vocal work make Carnival Is Forever what it is. Decapitated are here to stay and one can only hope they keep producing heart felt albums.
Carnival Is Forever isn’t an album you can sit down, listen to once and walk away. It takes multiple; maybe even hundreds of listens to even pick up every aspect of this release. All the passion in making sure this album was one for the ages, one to be remembered by went into this, and it’s not the death metal that makes this work its magic, it’s the fine details. You can immerse yourself in a death metal release for the first time since I can remember. This isn’t a death metal album you just bang your head to and scream along with; don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of head banging, but this album is something more that you can only experience with multiple listens. Heading into October now, this is my album of the year and most people know how much I love Septic Flesh’s latest. This is better. This is pure. This is music with soul. This is Decapitated.
01. “The Knife”
03. “Carnival Is Forever”
04. “Homo Sum”
06. “A View From A Hole”