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Say it ain’t so, Joe.
Decapitated has had more than a human share of misfortune hit the band in recent years with the death of founding drummer Vitek and the horrible incapacitating of vocalist Covan after a bus accident in Belarus in ’07. At that point the band was riding high, making a name for itself all over the underground at a blinding speed. In one fell swoop it all changed with Carnival is Forever…and not for the better.
This album is straight ahead nu-metal, nothing more, nothing less, and even when certain morons try and explain away this tag and call me out for improper usage of it I staunchly stand by it; the careful dancing around the trite, predictable vocals and blast-beat drumming on a seemingly endless program spill mallcore secrets in copious amounts and it seems that the band has hit the proverbial brick wall. From the very first chords of “The Knife” I immediately shake my head with wonder as to how the band went from Organic Hallucinosis to this unmitigated and trite mess. While there are still some death metal devices in place throughout the album, the basic concept is raped and left bleeding on a cold, soulless floor. I understand now just how much Vitek, Sauron and Covan gave to Decapitated over its career, and I have to cringe at the thought of what the young drummer would think of this pedestrian direction had he not been so violently taken from this life.
What you might have gotten out of The Negation or Nihility is long gone and in its place is this lethargic and diluted spectacle set to music. I’m not even sure how I managed to get through this album without taking short breaks to slam my head off the bathroom sink as I surely wanted to; I consider it a wasted opportunity. The best comparison I can offer is to Meshuggah, which in my opinion is one of the better insults I must attach to this album. The vocals are silly, processed yelling that might serve some 15-year-old who’s never actually heard the band before, but for season pros like myself and a few thousand other fans this is just flat out lazy! The best track on here is the instrumental “Silence”, which at least has the decency to rip off Opeth rather than Trivium.
Metal history is littered like a Kansas highway with the good and bad when a band implements a major lineup change. Some decisions have been positive for the band (Black Sabbath and Accept immediately come to mind), and then some have been dead air being forced down your throat ala Venom or anything by Mayhem post De Mysteriiis dom Sathanas. Sometimes the original fire is just doused, and such is the case here. Everything that made Decapitated a powerful, destructive band has been circumcised beyond legitimate gender identification. What once packed a volatile punch to the face in tracks like “The First Damned” or “Visual Delusion” has now given way to the lame attempt at some Nevermore-like progressive riffs that fall well short and only survive in the mall-fan’s miniscule psyche. This is not how the band should go out, and at this point anything else would be an affront to the band’s legacy. Enough damage has been done.
I’m sure some fans might find some value in these tracks, but all I keep hearing is the typicality of
Nu-metal garbage running over the music with reckless abandon without any regard for true technical death metal lineage, never mind staying true to the band’s original ideas. These silly chugging guitars are more Hatebreed than anything else, and while I do enjoy the occasional Hatebreed album I certainly do not want to hear it under the Decapitated moniker - it’s just bad taste, not to mention a slap in the face to the fans that stuck out both the good days coming up and the dark hours soon to follow. If this is the best that the band can offer I say the band died on that lonely road with Vitek much the same way Metallica did on the icy road in Sweden in 1986. Some machines just can’t work on a different fuel and shouldn’t be forced to grind gears on a bone-dry ideal that is lost to an unimaginative and complacent effort.
If a carnival is forever, then a sellout is infinite.
(Originally written for MetalPsalter.com)