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Crushing lungs with acid air. - 60%

Diamhea, February 12th, 2018

What motivates Decapitated to continue on anymore? That is a question I have repeatedly found myself musing over, but the surprising competence of Blood Mantra at least gave the band a viable reason to keep the tour bus rolling along. It seems like the true Achilles heel of these Poles is a defect that can be traced back to the loss of Vitek. They simply haven't been able to replicate the Organic Hallucinosis vibe they so typically aim for on these later records without his scattered, yet precise percussion. Journeyman Krimh had the most potential but was wasted on the flaccid Carnival Is Forever and departed shortly afterward. MÅ‚ody simply isn't on the same level, and Anticult therefore suffers.

Still, unlike many I find later Decapitated at least listenable, largely due to Vogg's talents, and always give them a fair shake. Anticult is if anything a very compact listen, although not in the manner that the band comes off as particularly focused. It feels more like a desperate attempt to put enough material together to appease the record label. These tracks are littered with now-familiar atmospheric droning bits, that while present in the band's sound for over a decade, used to serve as mere window dressing to the punishment proper. Now tracks seem to defer to this crutch more often than necessary. Production is dense, perfectly suited for Vogg's staggered groove assault. Piotrowski's choppy barking continues in its competence, although I still prefer Covan when it comes to this approach.

Singling out individual tracks is more testing than one may think, as Anticult tends to blur into one reasonably capable whole. "Impulse" is typical for the band and a decent way to start things, but I found myself more drawn to the low end chugging of "Kill the Cult," which sounds more like something from Blood Mantra and is a decent ripper. Other tracks seem more mired in mid-paced land. Much of the album isn't so much "groovy" as it is intentionally slowed down to the point that it logically becomes something else. Modern Decapitated aren't known for their speed but we need some sort of contrast here outside of the atmospheric sections.

Anticult is more or less what I expected, although not necessarily what I want from Decapitated. "One-Eyed Nation" and "Kill the Cult" stand out slightly, but the band seems to be stagnating. Perhaps Vogg has explored all he can out of this particular style and vibe, as a lot of the album sounds plagiarised from earlier material. Without Vitek's always-intriguing drumming to help distract the listener, a lot of this simply becomes bog-standard rehashing. Not an abject failure, but some change needs to be made.