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Nihility sees Decapitated take a slightly more definite direction towards their own sound. Where their previous and much acclaimed album Winds of Creation flowed in a brutal yet somehow ‘organic’ way, this album has a more mechanical edge to it, the crisp production replacing the more natural, warm sound of the previous release.
I’m not sure I like this different edge as much production wise, as I feel it is a bit tinny at times, but in other ways the triggered drums and full-bodied guitars add a lot to the aggressive style. The songs are consistent, and are relentlessly driven by both the precise drums and wild but accurate riffs. The technical elements that we heard in Winds of Creation are still very much present, and add an exciting element of creativity, giving some tracks an unpredictable, original quality. On the other hand, on some occasions I do find the song structures a bit repetitive, with sections being repeated identically and at times predictably, detracting from the enjoyment of the song after a few listens, even to the point of tedium now and again.
Overall though the song writing can hardly be knocked, and the musicianship is of the highest standard. The combination of groovy, powerful concepts and more intricate, perhaps thoughtful passages is one thing I really enjoy about the band, and this album showcases this at its best. All members add their own elements to the recording - the deep, brutal but controlled vocals of Sauron, the solid, pulsing bass of Martin (well…I tried!), the inventive, intense and quite brilliant guitar work of Vogg, and the always precise, energetic drumming of Vitek – all are on top form.
Decapitated are a young and still developing band, and this album marks a surer step towards the technical, precise death metal that they are making their own. Is it as good as Winds of Creation? Well in my opinion I would say not. It lacks the same level of excitement, liquidity and just pure enjoyment of listening from my perspective, but nonetheless this is a confident and very solid slab of intense, technical, aggressive death metal from a band that no one – fan or band alike - can afford to ignore.