It’s Friday Night/Saturday Morning around 1:30 a.m. and I decided that NOW is the time for my review of DECAPITATED’S new album Blood Mantra, their first since 2011. It’s not like this is my first go-round mind you, I’ve had it over a month, and I just felt inspired to write about it here and now. Let me start by saying that I am a newer fan of the band, so I haven’t been there since Day One, but I went on an album-buying spree prior to getting this new one. What triggered that was their live set at Bloodstock this year. I was incredibly impressed with how vocalist Rafal “Rasta” Piotrowski commanded the stage as well as his abilities behind the mic. Hell, I must have watched that set a dozen times or so. Next thing I know, Blood Mantra showed up in the ol’ inbox. Adding to the awesomeness was me getting to interview guitarist and band founder Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka shortly thereafter (look for that real soon!).
With a running time of roughly 40 minutes the disc opens with “Exiled in Flesh” as if to say, “Wake the fuck up! DECAPITATED are back, bitches!!” New drummer Michał Łysejko comes charging out of the gate with blast beats a-flyin’ and just a pummeling wall of sound. By now we’ve all heard “The Blasphemous Psalm to the Dummy God Creation”, right? Jeezus, the title is almost longer than the song itself. Well, the tune may be short but it is balls-to-the-wall the entire time and you can really hear bassist Pawel Pasek flying on this one. The technical aspects of this band speak for themselves. One listen to anything they’ve put out demonstrates that clearly. “Veins” has a bit thicker and meatier guitar sound than the first two tracks; these truly feel like riffs of death. And Rasta just slays on this song. Things turn rather atmospheric at the three minute mark before revving up again for the last minute.
“Blood Mantra” is most definitely one for the REPEAT button, largely due to those thick riffs Vogg keeps serving up. As the album progresses you can also sense that Rasta is a much more confident vocalist than he was on Carnival is Forever. And that’s saying a lot because he sounds pretty badass there, too. “Nest” was another favorite for the way it just jackhammers you into submission and “Instinct” is just an old-fashioned beat down every step of the way. It’s like you know you’re getting your ass kicked, face bloodied, etc. and all you can do is say, “Thank you sir, may I have another?” And then we come to my absolute fucking favorite track: “Blindness”. Moving to a slow, tribal beat over which Vogg weaves a tapestry of dark and evil riffs to go with the sonic ministrations of Pasek and Łysejko, Rasta comes in with screams and growls that could crack a patient’s chest cavity in the O.R. Seven minutes of dark, hypnotic death metal that rendered me speechless the first time I heard it.
The record ends with the eerie serenity of “Red Sun”, three minutes of calm that we can use to reflect upon the carnage and destruction carried out in each one of the previous tracks. After spending a lot of time with the entire DECAPITATED catalog I can say with no uncertainty that Blood Mantra is my favorite record from them. Not only that, but this is for sure a contender for my Death Metal Album of 2014! You need to pick this record up yesterday, people. It will be out on September 30 via Nuclear Blast Records. I can’t stress enough how much you need this album in your life.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM