Anyone who knows me also knows that DECAPITATED is one of my favorite bands, and one of my top Death Metal bands, especially with the release of Blood Mantra (STILL my favorite album, and I own them all!). And anyone who knows anything about my family life also knows that my son Mini-Amps LOOOOOOVES the band every bit as much as dear ol’ Dad does. So much so that when he got his iPod and wireless headphones this past Christmas the first record I put in there for him was their latest. It’s so funny how he can be the litmus test for bands sometimes, because when I did the Blood Mantra review three years ago he was right there rocking out with me, which meant we had a winner on our hands!
So now here we are in 2017 and the polish metallers return with Anticult (July 7, Nuclear Blast Records). I don’t think anyone was more excited than I was for this release and believe me when I tell you it is worth the fucking wait and then some. Guitarist Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka once again makes the fretboard his bitch across the entire record, coaxing sounds from his axe that are some of the most unique I’ve ever heard. I don’t know if it’s his tunings, his settings, or whatever-the-fuck it is, but it sounds goddamn amazing! You can really hear it on a track like “Kill the Cult”, an absolute standout in my anything-but-humble opinion. Also, vocalist Rafal “Rasta” Piotrowski, now with three albums under his belt, simply owns this thing.
The rhythm section of Michał Łysejko (drums) and latest addition Hubert Więcek on bass are completely locked in across each and every tune and sound like they’ve been together for years. Right out of the gate opener “Impulse” takes a clawhammer to your head for six minutes, followed by “Deathvaluation”, which proceeds to do the same, only in an even higher gear. Rasta sounds like a demon possessed on the latter. Both tracks also sport two of the coolest intros on the disc. “One Eyed Nation” might just be the most melodic song here, but in no way is it soft. This fucker will throw you through a plate glass window, then step over you to go get another beer. Once again, more masterful guitar riffage from Vogg.
Łysejko’s drumming is the straw that stirs the drink on “Anger Line.” He’s everywhere at once it seems, and trying to keep up with him just might make you dizzy. “Earth Scar” very much reminded me of some of Mini-Amps’ favorite tunes from the last disc, so that was obviously a winner from jump. First single “Never” had my full attention the minute the press release landed in my lap in April and continues to command it since then. I must have listened 15 times in a row that day, and I still love it. “Amen” is an interesting way to end things but if we’re being honest it definitely seemed a little out of place among the other songs. I won’t go so far as to say it’s a bad one, just…off?
But no matter, because DECAPITATED have shown me, Mini-Amps, and soon many of you that two decades into their career they are still throwing fiery Polish Death Metal upon us, which is the BEST Death Metal, despite what some naysayers might have to yap about. Anticult covers the sonic landscape with napalm, then throws back its head, laughing while it burns. Pick this one up posthaste, because to miss out on it would be downright criminal. The band is co-headlining a tour with THY ART IS MURDER later this year, and I can’t wait to hear these new tunes live alongside some of their vintage beasts, how about you?
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Earth Scar”, “Never”, “Kill the Cult”, “One Eyed Nation”