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Technical but Needs More Variety - 77%

Five_Nails, August 17th, 2009

Between the amazing “Winds of Creation” and the terribly weak, “Organic Hallucinosis”, something went wrong with Polish technical death metal band, Decapitated. Luckily that thing that went wrong did not happen in their album, “Nihility”.

Vitek’s drumming is the focal point in this album, from his intense almost mechanized drumbeat in “Spheres of Madness” and his double bass fills in “Babylon’s Pride” to the general speed of his double bass kicking and intense gravity blasting throughout the album, it is obvious that Vitek’s talent as a drummer still hadn’t been fully expressed by “Nihility”. As is expected from any YouTube douche who comments on a pre-1986 Metallica video, Pantera video, or Death video, the RIPs should be flying around like so many falsified emotions at the death of a politician, child molesting celebrity, or rich family member that no one ever really knew but expects a good chunk of change from, but Vitek’s death did cut the drummer’s potentially illustrious career short, at least before it turned to shit and people began to wonder why he didn’t retire (*dry cough* Metallica). The drumming in this album is very complicated, even to a non-drummer, the time signatures, rapid beat changes, and intense double bass kicking are mind-blowing. Giving even Frost and George Kollias, two huge drummers in the black and death metal genres respectively, Vitek’s double bass kicking in “Mother War” grinds the tempo of the song at a blistering pace. The sound of the drums is well-produced; the bass does get a little too clicky, but not too much to be a burden.

Sauron’s vocals, though brutal gutturals, are unintelligible and thickly accented. Though the vocals are amazing compared to those of Covan, whose hardcore clean vocals made “Organic Hallucinosis” sound like crap, the gutturals could use some work to sound less throaty and deeper or more intelligible and enunciated with less accent. The lyrics that the vocals are covering are intelligently written, but the intelligence of the lyrics is destroyed by the vocals. Granted, the vocals do sound close to those of Frank Mullen of New York death metal pioneers, Suffocation, but the garbled throatiness of the vocals do not compare to the deeper anger that Mullen expresses in his vocals.

The guitar sound is very well represented. The solo at 1:06 in the title track represents the gist of the soloing for the album, a lot of arpeggios are used, good echoing distortion, and little to no melody at all keep the solos technical and in the same heavy vein as the rest of the song as well as adds some of the guitarist’s personality to the mix and breaks up the monotony of the tracks. The tracks do sound dry guitar-wise. The same riffs are employed and have generally the same low growling sound with little variety. If there is any tedium in this album, it is coming from the guitar. Once in a while, like in “Names”, “Spheres of Madness”, and there will be some really interesting and enjoyable riffs and even a groove sound in “Eternity Too Short”, but for the most part the guitars remain passable and try not to add as much emotion and power to the album as other technical death metal bands strive for from their guitars.

“Spheres of Madness” is definitely the most standout track of the album. Catchy but still technical and at a reasonable pace to be able to keep up with the drumming, this song showcases some of Vitek’s astonishing double bass stamina as he keeps with the same double bass beat throughout the entire song, save for a few breaks here and there that the entire band indulges in. The riff is a catchy chugging sound as though it is being played in a trashcan with some movement into higher notes to keep it going and make it one of the most standout riffs of the album. The vocals perfectly compliment the mix, not too dry and not too gargled, Sauron does well to contain the vocals in a certain medium range that has just enough grit to stay brutal but is more understandable than in most of the other songs to ensure this song is as approachable as possible. Decapitated did very well to make “Spheres of Madness” their money track, and it has paid off as it is just about the best track of the album.

In all, though this album is a really good listen, the guitars do created some tedium in the overall sound of it, the production on the drums is of high quality, but the production on the vocals, and the vocals themselves are lacking in too many places on this album. This album is a good medium between the nearly perfect “Winds of Creation” and shithouse “Organic Hallucinosis” as both a good listen but an album that could have done with more variation from the guitars and vocals in different places. That being said, standout songs like “Spheres of Madness”, “Eternity Too Short”, and “Mother War” give the album a good boost, and the lyrics, though tough to understand, are very well-written.