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If it wasn't Decapitated.... - 45%

Templar0220, May 6th, 2014

Decapitated has always been one of my top favorite bands ever since first listening to death metal. That being said, I was highly anticipating this album's release and could not wait to hear what Vogg had waiting to be unleashed as the new era of Decapitated. I am an avid fan of their debut album Winds of Creation (I have labeled the album as "Techni-Vader" for obviously reasons, but for good reasons), as well as the following albums Nihility and The Negation. Three monumental technical death metal albums in my opinion, and each individually recognizable as their own sound essentially. I am a little on the fence with their fourth album, Organic Hallusinosis. There are some absolute gems on that album (the first two tracks especially), but the dramatic shift in tone and songwriting style was a complete hit or miss with me. I appreciate whats going on with that album as it is very highly creative and atmospheric even within the highly progressive elements. I even liked Covan's harsh intense vocals for the most part because the band wanted him to do his own thing and not just copy Sauron's (former vocalist) style. But overall that album was a back step for me because I am a big fan of the riff-oriented style shown on their first release going into their second. Those who know what I like know that I am an avid fan of old school thrashy death metal, and OH took a step in the other direction for my tastes, albeit still a good album.

Now on to the specific topic of this review; the album Carnival Is Forever (not a fan of the name at all) is Decapitated's fifth release following the reformation of the band by Vogg after the tragic accident in 2007 that took the life of his brother and drummer Vitek (R.I.P.), and left vocalist Covan in a coma that he is still recovering from. He recruited all new band members including vocalist Rafał Piotrowski, bassist Filip "Heinrich" Hałucha (Masachist is a great band by the way), and with very big shoes to fill, drummer Kerim "Krimh" Lechner. My initially expectation of this album was completely divided. I was very happy when I found out that Vogg was bringing Decapitated back because they were at the time my favorite band and Vogg has always been a huge influence for me personally as a guitar player and knew anything that he wrote would be of high quality regardless. But I was hesitant because of the most previous album's change in style and tone to a more progressive feel while sacrificing on the technical old school approach. I had hoped that Vogg would at least cut a fine line between and just combine all different elements to create a very unique but enjoyable album, and for its not he necessarily did bad for any reason.

The first track on this album is in fact my favorite track on the album. 'The Knife' is a killer old school style Decapitated song with some real technical trashy riffs at high tempo to really get things going. The solo is classic Vogg and fits right in with the chaos that ensues. Rafal's vocals are to me the epitome of "okay". Sometimes I think his voice fits on this album and sometimes I'm like "eh..." From here on out the album fluctuates in quality overall in my opinion. I like a good amount of the ideas that Vogg is trying to make with the riffs on this album, but a lot of it just sounds so boring and not nearly as exciting as say classic tracks like 'Winds of Creation', 'Human's Dust', 'Nihility', 'Spheres of Madness', etc. It seems like Vogg is really utilizing his Pantera influences in his guitar playing in just about every aspect. The high-mid speed groove-style riffs remind me of how Dimebag might have played if he were a technical death metal guitarist. That is certainly a great thing for sure, but I kind of go by this philosophy: I love steak and I love ice cream, but it does not mean I want them together at the same time. What I mean is Pantera is cool, but I don't want Pantera in my death metal. I like them separate and do not really care for the influence that he presents on this album. This is just my opinion but I just don't like the different approach really because I am probably just too much of a fan of Decapitated's earlier influences. If this was any other band that had always approached their music in this style maybe I could be more receptive of what is being displayed here in its own right. But at the same time some parts I really do just find boring and not something I find myself going back to too often. Some parts are pretty cool and have my head banging initially, but then start to feel old real fast - the title track being a good example of this. The repetitive staccato sound is supposed to serve as an atmospheric enhancer and for some this can be more preferable. But for someone who may be looking for more of a constant wall of relentless brutality with layers of riffage, will only find glimpses as opposed to earlier releases.

Vogg still displays high technical and creative level in his playing that really shines through the most with his leads. The atmospheric lead section on the song 'Homo Sum', has so much feeling to it that it is honestly the only shining moment of that song I feel. The song '404' is a perfect example of why I cannot get into Vogg's new songwriting approach. That whole beginning part just sounds so bland and not really up to the level of ability that I know Vogg can produce creatively. I do like the hammer on/pull off riff sections of the song a lot though which makes it completely opposite to how I feel for the staccato-pinch harmonic Pantera-esq riff that fills the gaps. I do like the opening to 'A View From A Hole' (what is it with these names?), as it shows a side of Decapitated never done before with clean progressive instrumentation and then into a distorted atmospheric build up that really does sound truly epic. There are certainly some great riffs on this track and the octave-heavy riffing sounds like something from the Behemoth/Hate brand of death metal and is certainly a favorable track on this album. Pest starts out kind of bland and in my opinion becomes forgettable from there on mainly because of the same formula used throughout most of the album that does not contain too many good attributes. The final track 'Silence', is a clean instrumental track that is really somber in feel as I believe, if knowledge serves me right, is a tribute written by Vogg for his brother Vitek. This song is special because its completely different than anything Decapitated has ever done up til this point, and it is really well done and a great tribute.

The tone on this album production wise is great really and displays the technical ability of the musicians fully. Krimh is a very skilled drummer and shows us quite well how precise he can be with his musical ability by working with Vogg to create a dense, progressive atmosphere. As I said Rafal's vocals are "okay" but certainly not my favorite. I would not entirely recommend this album to someone getting into death metal honestly. It has an experimental edge with some flaws that leave parts not so interesting, especially when you put it up against their back catalog. A valiant effort but not nearly as great.

Their worst album, but not terrible - 65%

TheSullenMisanthrope, August 4th, 2013

Ahh, Decapitated. The technical death metal band from Poland have proven themselves worthy of all the praise they have received from their first four albums, which were all unique albums that presented new and fresh ideas thanks to the band's two mastermind brothers, guitarist Vogg and drummer Vitek., Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. A tour bus accident had taken the life of young Vitek and rendered vocalist Covan into a deep coma, and bass player Martin had quit as well, leaving Vogg as the only remaining member of the band that had such a promising future. When Vogg replaced the missing band members and announced the new 2011 album Carnival Is Forever, every fan wondered how the album would change given the circumstances. Would it change for better or for worse? As everyone expected, it changed for the worse.

This is not a terrible album. It was not a complete piece of garbage like other releases that year *cough*MorbidAngel*cough*. However, it was a big disappointment for me in comparison to the band's previous successful efforts. Carnival is Forever just seems very awkward. The songs don't piece together well. Although there were many good individual ideas, very few of them flowed together in harmony. Certain tracks like 404 and Pest sound very amateur and choppy. There are, however, some good tracks on this album. I enjoyed tracks 1,2, & 4, which is understandable because those sound most like their previous work. Carnival is Forever also presents very surprising elements. The self-titled track was a whopping 8 minutes long, and contained very long passages of soft guitar that may either interest or disappoint many fans. However, the closing track Silence was the biggest surprise. The song was not a metal song at all; in fact it contained elements of blues in it. Silence was an instrumental (quite obvious, given its name) and was clearly written by Vogg as a tribute to the passing of Vitek. In general, the songs weren't a total disappointment, but were a bit simplistic and awkwardly written.

What most people wonder, however, is how each member would perform in their individual sections. Given the new band changes, it was curious as to how the members would cope in their new environment, and how they would each give their own input to the band. The vocals, which are now performed by their new vocalist Rasta, are a big change. They aren't necessarily bad; they just didn't seem to fit in with the band very well. His vocals register a much higher pitch than their previous vocalists, and I felt it really hard to accustom myself to listen to him. The guitar on Carnival is Forever is, however, the biggest letdown of the album. Vogg has hit a very low point in his career, which is understandable considering the death of his brother, and the guitar work is simply not nearly as good as he has previously shown. The guitar plays very awkward riffs and the solos were extremely disappointing. Vogg does, however, present some sick ideas, such as the awesome riffs on the track United. Although his work wasn't terrible, I hope Vogg will be able to return to his legendary self on their next album.

The new bass player, Heinrich, was surprisingly audible on the album, unlike Decapitated's previous albums, in which the bass was virtually non-existant. That leads me to the drummer, Kerim Lechner. Lechner had lots of pressure on his back to replace the legendary Vitek. In my opinion, Lechner did the job well. He wasn't as great as Vitek, but he was definitely a suitable replacement. Tracks like Homo Sum and View From A Hole display his expertise well. I think Lechner was the greatest contributor to the album.

All in all, Carnival is Forever was a disappointment, but still makes for a decent listen. We can't expect the band to release a masterpiece given the tragedy that overcame them in 2007. I'll give Decapitated one or two more albums and they'll be back at the peak of technical death metal.

Honest rage and masterful precision combined - 90%

TheLiberation, June 2nd, 2013

And this, in my opinion, says everything about what you can expect from this one. This album is around 40 minutes (with just a few moments to catch your breath) of pure, unrestrained fury, executed in a way which leaves very little to complain about. It definitely does venture away from a traditional death metal sound in quite a few ways, so if that's what you're looking for, you might end up being one of the disappointed ones, but personally I never get tired of this one. Carnival Is Forever is basically Vogg with a completely new, rebuilt band (unfortunately, as it turned out, only the new vocalist stayed in the band for a longer time), so as it could be expected, this album does sound somewhat different from Organic Hallucinosis, although there definitely is some continuity.

If I had to point out one thing that makes this album so good, the answer is simple: riffs. Mostly rather clearly downtuned, fucking heavy, with occasional but smart use of chugging, and with some more complex technical ideas to make them even more fun and interesting. Decapitated have quite clearly never been a band that made their technical side the central part of their music, but it's a very cleverly used weapon in their hands, making the music sound even more insane and energetic, without ever going over the top with unnecessary "it's 317/256, man!!1" gimmicks. Everything, from the fast, crushing opener The Knife, through the longer and even somewhat progressive A View From a Hole, to the short and completely straightforward Pest, is built from absolutely high-quality riffs.

Personally I also enjoy the fact that Vogg is the band's sole guitarist, as this kind of setup always gives more space to the other instruments, and I'm not very happy with many bands' tendency to make bass almost completely inaudible and insignificant. This results with some pretty interesting ideas, such as most of the solos having just drums and bass as the rhythm section which sounds damn amazing on this album. Heinrich's bass lines and Krimh's excellent, clever drumming make the music far more interesting and varied: the rhythm section here is far more than just basic support for the guitar, they actively contribute to the storm rolling through most of the 42 minutes.

And on a related note, there's one thing this album has which, unfortunately, many death metal albums lack or have in insufficient, in my opinion, amounts: variety. Faster and more mid-paced sections, crushing heaviness as well as atmospheric moments, shorter and longer tracks; there's all you could want basically. My personal favourite is definitely the long, amazing title track, with its incredibly dark atmosphere (partially thanks to the great bass intro and interlude), and some of the most crushing riffs to be found here, with the long, repetitive closing riff being my favourite on the album. Another one is the opener, The Knife, with its frantic pace and incredible riffing, which somehow manages to be incredibly catchy and instantly memorable. Personally, I also have an incredibly soft spot for the closing track, Silence: it's basically just a clean guitar with delay, simple but very beautiful and atmospheric; very soothing after an album as heavy and intense as this, and somehow it doesn't feel out of place at all.

The album has more to offer, though, and all of it is great: there are a couple more straightforward tracks, United featuring some of my favourite drumming on the album, 404 having an amazing and instantly catchy opening riff as well as a slight industrial feel, and finally Pest is the shortest and one of the heaviest. On the other hand, Homo Sum and A View From a Hole are completely different; I needed quite a lot of time to get used to the former, but it does have an interesting solo section in the middle, while the latter is the second longest track on the album, with an excellent clean intro and some great riffing.

Another possibly controversial point here are the vocals. Rasta's style is not completely unlike Covan, but he definitely is a little different. His style is not really typical growling, rather going in the direction of screams, which mostly sound genuinely pissed off throughout the album. While personally I needed some time to get used to his style, I enjoy it now and he does fit the band's style pretty well. And speaking of vocals, I feel I should mention the lyrics: I'm mostly not a great fan of extreme metal lyrics in general and just treat them as material for the vocalist, but this is definitely one of the best I've seen. They're definitely dark and nihilistic as hell, but they're written in a pretty clever way, sometimes being brutally straightforward and sarcastic at the same time (the title track especially).

Overall, this album is without doubt a worthy continuation of the band's discography. Unfortunately nobody knows what could have been released instead if fate hadn't been as cruel towards them, but Vogg found the strength to move on, and I'm absolutely and completely convinced that it was a great decision. This album is the evidence, filled with genuine anger, but written and executed with amazing skill and precision, and these two combined always result in the creation of excellent metal.

Decapitated - Carnival is Forever - 92%

Daemonium_CC, April 10th, 2013
Written based on this version: 2011, CD, Nuclear Blast (Slipcase)

I have to be honest, I was never the biggest Decapitated fan. That doesn't mean that I don’t own all the albums physically, because I do. But up until this point, with a few exceptions, they've never truly clicked with me. Never sucked me in.

I’m still not quite sure what it is about this album, but after ignoring for well over a year, for some reason I decided to pay it another visit. And ever since then it hasn’t let me go. A lot of people will disagree with me on this, but I really didn't enjoy “Organic Hallucinations”, besides a few tracks. On the whole I found it to be a snooze fest, so I didn't have much hopes for this album, especially since the band tragically lost Vitek and Covan.

The band Vogg has put together since then seems to be perfectly capable, and lets be honest, most of us here are for the guitar and drum work. While new drummer Paul is not as distinct as Vitek was, he still does a fabulous job throughout the album. Some of the most memorable parts on this album for me are the drum parts, which is not an easy thing to achieve.

The first blow is delivered in the shape of “The Knife”, and all across the board it’s a solid, enjoyable track. This is when the listener will hear Rafal for the first time, and in my opinion he does a fine job. A step away from your usual guttural, boring death metal vocals, he holds his own just fine, with the rest of the band grinding away your senses.

Throughout the album Vogg experiments with clean sounds, and also quite a lot of different chord structures and shapes. This is a very welcome addition rather than the usual death metal far of fast trem picked or palm muted riffs. The guitar playing on this album is very organic, as can be heard on the title track. It’s also pretty damn creative as well, and everything flows together quite seamlessly.

“Homo Sum” is the single from the record, and one of the best tracks to be found on here. I remember when the album first leaked, people criticized it for just basically being an open E string, and being too simple. This song was also my first taste of the album, and I simply didn't get it at first. It seemed boring and repetitive, though that is incredibly far from the truth. The thing that makes this song shine is not the intro, or the verses, it’s Vogg’s incredible solo section. Backed up by an awesome pulsating bass, and driving drums, it’s like a trance. Reminds me of the solos Meshuggah used to do back in the day, where everything had a very “spacey” feel to it. This isn't a bad thing at all, and Vogg’s tone here, his touch, and just everything just makes it work. Once this section of the song clicked with me, finally, the rest of the album just made a whole lot more sense for some reason. I suppose it’s because it was here I realized that Decapitated weren't the old Decapitated anymore. They weren't trying to be. They had evolved.

The album, somehow, seems to pick up momentum halfway through, and “404” is simply awesome. The groovy riff at the beginning, the weird verse riff and everything just make it very interesting to listen to. However, it’s the ending that really makes it shine. At 3:37 the band steps on the gas, and off they go into what is perhaps their closest venture into older Decapitated territory, but with a twist. Again, Vogg’s solo with just the drum and bass backing him is top notch. Excellent execution, and flawless climax. It then erupts into one of the most memorable sections on the album. Outstanding stuff.

I don’t really know what made me come back to this album, but I’m sure glad I did. It’s a fantastic evolution for the band in my opinion. It has a lot of new twists and turns, as well as nods to the Decapitated of old, such as on “Pest”. It sounds like there is something in here for everyone, though it’s a shame more people don’t give this album more of a chance. It’s definitely worth coming back to, so if you own it, come back to it with a good set of earphones and a fresh set of ears. This is not to be missed. It’s well worth the effort to sit down with it and to fully understand what it has to offer. This was an incredibly important album for Vogg and Decapitated, and I’m just glad he had the courage to try something new rather than resting on his previous success.

Top notch.

Deserves More Praise - 90%

PillarofModern, June 24th, 2012

I have loved the album ever since it was released and shared on youtube. I bought the special, deluxe edition, with the bonus CD about Decapitated's studio report, for such a good release deserves extra pay.

The mix is pristine, all guitars are audible and sharp as hell when you need them, the drums are perfectly loud and not overwhelming, so I find complaints about any possible "muddiness" as if it's some black metal failure bullshit, and to accuse them of over-compressing is also a sin; it's true that many famous bands may have succumbed to it (think Death Magnetic) and newbie bands with undeservedly high budgets, but for this album, it is clear that Decapitated is a highly experienced band that finally found the perfect mix and sound after only four albums deep into their career (As Stranger in a Strange Land was for Maiden).

So assume that the technology part is perfect. One can accuse them of lackluster musicianship then? Hell no! The majority of complaints I am exposed to from other reviews and YouTube are bitchings and moanings about the new singer, song structure, how Krimh can never replace Vitek, etc. I agree that the lyrics are rather juvenile and amateur, and I understand how a pseudo-Slipknot album cover can turn one off, but are you reviewing the image or the music of this awesome band?

Please! This must be the most criminally underrated album released by a great, popular extreme metal band yet. The songs are so well-composed, the riffs are complicated and a pure delight to hear, no instrument hogs the spotlight too long, and there is almost nothing wrong with the musicians themselves. "Rasta sucks." I actually prefer him over Covan. I know I'd be shot down for this blasphemy, but honestly, Rasta's pacing (in tracks like The Knife), his better deliveries of high-pitched vocals, his overall voice just triumphs over Covan's half growling, half yelling screams. Unlike Covan, who in my opinion sings to tell a story, Rasta uses the lyrics written for him to show off his excellent singing. I've grown to love Covan's vocals, but Rasta propels Decapitated into a new age, where fast, harsh vocals accompany Vogg's ripping shreds perfectly.

The song structures are placed strategically well throughout the album. The songs do a remarkable job of not sounding the same, different and powerfully composed for each one without sounding over-calculated or improvised. We even get clean-guitar intros and instead of climaxing with an all-out blitzkrieg for the finale, we have a poignant clean instrumental dubbed "Silence."

Shatter all myths that the band has turned "deathcore" and sold out, this is technical death metal, at its finest. This is the type of album that you can actually enjoy listening from beginning to end. There's enough variety to keep you compelled and headbanging with maximum pleasure. In no way is this a "shitty" album, for the dual union of perfect technology and musicianship make this into the perfect album.

"more cryptic and obscure than previous efforts" - 94%

ReaperMan, January 6th, 2012

Relishing more of the groove found on Decapitated’s previous outing, 2006’s Organic Halluscinosis is a much less abrasive record than previous efforts by the revered Polish act. The songs are much more riff-driven with the drums not playing as integral a role, likely due to Vitek’s absence (who, if you listen to the band’s previous work, especially Organic Halluscinosis, is certainly a devastating loss to the metal community). The sound of Carnival… sits somewhere between that of Swedish prog-maestros Meshuggah and more thrash-orientated death metal reminiscent of post-thrashers Byzantine lapsing into a more traditional, yet still by no means conventional death metal sound on the pummelling “404.”

New vocalist Rafal Piotrowski’s vocal style calls to mind that of Fredrik Thordendal and Max Cavalera, and this unconventional approach goes a long way towards distinguishing the sound of the new Decapitated. Much like the album’s baffling title, the lyrics this time are more cryptic and obscure than on previous efforts.

Carnival…. is a unique affair punctuated by strange acoustic passages that tie in with the instrumental closer, suggesting that Carnival is a deeper album than most. A fitting continuation of the Decapitated legacy.

Decapitated - Carnival Is Forever - 40%

Orbitball, December 11th, 2011

"Winds of Creation" was wicked, but this "Carnival Is Forever" seems to be death metal at it's worst. Decapitated spews out some music that is not noteworthy or memorable. At first it seemed as though it was going to be alright and after a few spins on the whole album, I'd have to say that this was truly a waste of money. Some albums take time to get into and then again some can never be gotten into.

About the music, at first "The Knife" seemed promising, but then there's a fade that never stops fading. The riffs on the album aren't at the caliber that they should be at. That is, if you want to call this a death metal album. Sounds as though there are some remnants of metalcore in the offer, the riffs and vocals. The vox were not burly, just screaming, but in a metalcore fashion.

The lead guitar was not accompanied by rhythm guitars at all. All you can hear during the solos are the bass and drums. A bad idea. Then there are clean guitars which are okay to a moderate extent for a death metal album, but not an overuse of them. The song "Silence" was just clean guitar completely. Another bad idea on a short album like this. Decapitated seemed to forget that their genre is in death metal.

Talking in regards to the mixing here, well that was a strong suit for the album. The guitars, vocals, bass, and drums were all blended in here in a good fashion. It just sucks though when the album itself is a disappointment. I wonder why a turn for the worse with the band. Maybe they're trying something new or have forgotten about their roots and musicianship. It's just too bad.

If you want quality death metal, again pick up "Winds of Creation". Don't waste your time investing in this album because it's a sheer waste. The music on it is despicable and the vocals simply are the pits. None of the songs deserve praise because they're so lousy with the riff-writing and leads. Take my word for it and don't make the mistake of picking this one up because it sure isn't a gem at all.

An album sure to never receive its deserved praise - 100%

landon, October 18th, 2011

I’ve listened to this album many, many times since it was released. I have aurally examined it from end to end, sometimes on repeat. It is after so many listens that I know I could say this for myself as a long-time death metaller that Decapitated’s latest album, Carnival Is Forever, is a great triumph, and a triumph in more than one sense.

First off, it’s a celebration of perseverance through trial and tribulation as all are aware of the tragic death of drummer Vitek in 2007. This seemed to spell out the end for this young and immensely talented group and not many expected the band to return after such a devastating blow. And yet less than three years later, the band once again became active, headlining Summer Slaughter 2010 and along with that tour promises of a new album. And now that the album has arrived, we can all rejoice in its second triumph: proving that this band still pushes boundaries.

There is no loss of fury in the riffage on display here as "The Knife" makes that very clear from the get-go. Krimh's drumming is highlighted in this opening number; his style is very soulful and natural sounding as he drives the album from start to finish. "United" follows suit with an intense building intro that explodes into an absolutely furious blasting section coupled with a tremolo riff sure to be stuck in your head for days. The title track is slightly more mid-paced, the song's framework revolving around a crushing dissonant chug riff used as the refrain of sorts. This song is a perfect example of the darker tone and atmosphere present on the album. It eventually gives way to a single solitary guitar, picking away in a cavernous chamber at its eerie dirge. After a return to a more aggressive variation of that main refrain, the title track melts into perhaps the most immediately distinctively Decapitated piece on the album, "Homo Sum".

"Homo Sum" begins with a frenzied staccato pattern that does a particularly good job of highlighting Krimh's incredible ability behind the kit. It takes a left turn near the middle for "regaining of breath" purposes, a lone swirling guitar lead takes prominence before returning once more to the introduction riff and concluding itself. Immediately begins "404", a song that provides a few industrialized ideas reminiscent of Organic Hallucinosis. The greatest moment of this song is the rhythm-less solo that transitions itself into an immense blasting riff via a Krimh drum fill. The next track (my personal favorite) is "A View From A Hole", which deviates from standard Decapitated style in the best way. Vogg's strummed clean section gives Krimh yet another opportunity to show off his chops, and this section builds perfectly into the darkest riff Decapitated has yet written. From then on it's a whirlwind of blinding speed until its end. "Pest" is another excellent example of Vogg's distinctive riffing style, subtly technical and yet unforgettably groovy and mosh-worthy. The final piece of the album is "Silence", a quiet mournful clean piece that stands on its own as a heartfelt tribute from Vogg in memory of his late brother. Caps off to V on this one. It's a simple piece but it ties together all of the emotions felt after the unexpected death of Vitek in 2007 and wraps up Decapitated's first post-bus accident statement perfectly.

My conclusion? Decapitated is back and as solid as ever. This album is not just good for the novelty of it. It’s not worth regarding simply because it is a comeback album. Carnival Is Forever is full of riffs, full of passion, and full of feeling. We see a progression of moods ranging from anger to acceptance, from defeat to triumph, and from grief to solace. Vogg and co. have produced a death metal album with real emotion. How many bands have done something like that?

Mallcore anyone? One hell of a descent. - 40%

Pratl1971, October 11th, 2011

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

Decapitated - Carnival Is Forever - 55%

tcgjarhead, October 3rd, 2011

I can finally say I checked out this album and my feelings? Eh I'm not quite sure what all the hype is (was?) about. Decapitated for those who don't know are a tech death band from Poland. This is their first album I've listened to and I cant say I'm all that impressed.

Now I came into my listening to this album expecting technical death metal. But it seems the band recently changed all but one of its members out for various reasons and perhaps it was that which caused the shift in sound but this isn't proper tech death. In fact the band that comes to mind is a more technically inclined Gojira. I just don't get the feeling that there is enough death metal in this album to be considered technical death metal. Its like some bastardized version with elements of groove metal or something.

Another thing that throws me off is Rafal Piotrowski and his style of vocals. He strays further into hardcore like shouts than anything resembling death growls. He sounds at times a lot like Phil Anselmo from Pantera/Down maybe just a little more extreme. I mean it doesn't sound too bad but when you expect one thing and get something that is completely different it kind of leaves you scratching your head.

The guitar work is still impressive, tracks like 404 and The Knife come to mind though they are all still pretty technical and show skill. But its actually the stranger songs like Carnival Is Forever and Silence which caught my ear. These two are less by the book as opposed to the rest of the album and seem to be more about atmosphere and experimenting which makes them interesting listens. Carnival Is Forever is the longest track at almost 9 minutes and goes from soft, quiet, and atmospheric to heavy guitar driven and generally pissed off sounding. Silence is an instrumental track and is far more experimental and almost melancholy almost as if it were written as a piece for a movie. Funnily enough its pretty calming, the polar opposite of the rest of Carnival Is Forever. I'd also have to throw A View From A Hole in with these two as well though it is a little more in line with the technical death/groove of the other tracks.

Along with the impressive and at times catchy noodling is the nice drumming. Karem Lechner is fun to listen to on this album and probably one of the strongest members of the band. I mean yeah some of the guitar parts and riffs are interesting but as a whole the drumming stands out more so than the vocal delivery, and bass/guitar playing.

Carnival Is Forever isn't a bad album, but its not good either. It seems to be caught in that purgatory in between good and bad, the kind of albums that are seldom remembered for being famous or infamous. It is far easier to listen to than most technical death metal though and could be a gate way album for those who may be inclined to get into tech death but are frightened off by the complexity.

Review originally done @

Crushing - 90%

Sigfadir, July 15th, 2011

It is hard to talk about this band without mentionning the Metallica-like fate these guys suffered. Difference is, one brother in heaven and a very good friend in a coma later, there is only one original member left. Vogg (on guitars) had the huge task of reviving this once glorious brutal death metal act. So I had previously heard "Homo Sum" before picking up the album and I must say I was not hooked at the first listen.

On to the music, The Knife is what you would expect from an opener. Exploding and brutal guitar riffs, pretty straight-forward but bashing drums with agressive vocals that remind me of Phil Anselmo. On United, the drummer does a pretty good job to remind me of Vitek's crazy, over the top stomping. There's also a small interlude with a rather dark melody. The guitars are mid-tempo on this one but they still have the same edge they had on The Knife

Carnival is Forever begins with a dark intro on bass. Then, a mid-tempo butt-kicking guitar riff kicks in with the band's signature double bass drum in the back. The dark section from the beginning is also played halfway. Another guitar riff kicks in only to be blown away by crazy screams.

Homo Sum starts off with a thrashy guitar riff. Much like the ones Slayer are giving us in their later albums. Difference is this one is well done with a good clean heavy distortion. The formula on this one is pretty straight-forward. They use a sorrowful melody that fits really well with the song's vibe. This song is definitly a grower. 404 also features a heavy rhythm guitar section with other dazzling guitars. This one reminds me of old Decapitated during a few sections.

A view from a Hole kicks off with a fast clean guitar intro mixed with spot-on drums. A little doom-ish part and then, BOOM! The guys explode into a fast and brutal frenzy. Definitly the fastest song on this album. Pest is also a very fast and brutal song feating a deafening and very long scream midway through the song.

To close off the album, we get a surprise. Decapitated doing an accoustic/clean instrumental? Never heard of that before but it's still very good. It's done in a way you can't help but feel all the suffering Vogg must've endured. All the sorrow, the tears and emotions are present. When all is said and done, all that remains is Silence.

If you are expecting to hear brutal death metal like it was Winds of Creation again, you will be disappointed. In all honesty, Witek will truly be missed on future records. The new drummer does a good job but I've never heard a drummer like Witek. He was able to play fast, brutal and technical drums while having a groovy feel. He was unique. The new bassist does the job without shining and I'm very surprised by the new singer. They've switched from growlers to a screamer and he fits very well the new style of music. What I feel when I listen to this record is all the anger, the fury, the blood, the tears that Vogg wanted to express after suffering the loss of two bandmates. To me, this is no Death Metal. This is Crushing Metal.

To Vogg : two thumbs up! Cheers and keep the faith!

Decaffeinated, and hopefully not forever - 53%

autothrall, July 12th, 2011

Upon viewing its Slipknot-like cover image and hearing a reel of audio samples with no real highlights, I admit I was dreading a flop of Morbid Angel proportions from the 5th Decapitated record. The once Polish prodigy seems to have almost entirely abandoned the technical death metal roots that made them such an international force at such a stunning, young age with Winds of Creation. They've devolved into a creative wasteland of hyper djent and grooving death/thrash which, while not exactly effortless, seems more for the mall than the maelstrom of nuclear potential they once expressed. I understand the band here (outside of guitarist Vogg) is entirely new, and that the passing of drummer Vitek would have a profound effect on the others (he was fantastically talented). But if you had told me at the turn of the century that Decapitated would end up a hybrid of Meshuggah and Pantera, I would have given you the same astonished stare I give crazy people. Or ACORN employees.

Yeah, so "The Knife" features driving Meshuggah rhythms and vocals that fall somewhere between Max Cavalera and Phil Anselmo, and while I don't always have a problem with the style, the verses had me on the edge of shouting 'Fuckinnng hostttiilleee!' at my neighbors. The tune is snappy, aggressive and has a mechanical sheen to it, created through the vocal samples hanging at the edge of perception in its bowels; it even has a half-decent lead from Vogg. But within 30 seconds, I had to struggle just to remember a damn thing about it, and sadly, the album just does not get much better beyond that. The energy through "United" and "404" is unbridled, sure, but these are nothing more than streams of power chugged mutes played at faster than average speed with bouncing bass lines and mechanized grooves woven through. Not a single riff on this entire album carries the same perfection as "The First Damned", "Way to Salvation" or "Blessed" from the debut album, and its industrialized undercurrent is even less appealing than its predecessor Organic Hallucinosis.

In fact, the album is such a spastic dullard that whenever Decapitated veers away from their staple aggression, like the clean guitars that inaugurate "A View from a Hole" or the brooding bass deep in the title track, or even the bland acoustic finale "Silence", I actually welcomed the shift in perspective. Carnival is Forever is an experiment in contrasts with nothing experimental about it...a safety net of belligerent impulse threaded with un-subtle segues that create only an illusion of emotional depth. This is the aural equivalent of throwing a rage at your Mom if she failed to drop you off at the hockey meet at the proper time, or your girlfriend when she dumps you for being an angry, volatile ass. It's not without its implicit skill-set...after all, this is Vogg, a frighteningly talented guitar player who seems to have forgotten his own potential, and it's not quite the vortex of ill-bred ideas that Illud Divinum Insanus was, but this is the first major disappointment I've ever felt from the Poles. Deflated death metal starlets. What could be more depressing? All I could think of as I listened through this a third and fourth time to compose my thoughts was: thank the heavens below that Vader would never pull something like this.