Blood Mantra

Written by: MST on 30/10/2014 22:49:21

Poland's death metal icons Decapitated are legends in their genre. Responsible for releasing some of the most revered records in technical death metal, the band have experienced as much praise as they have gone through hardships in one way or another. After a car accident took the life of co-founder and drummer Vitek, as well as putting vocalist Covan into a coma, the Polish squad regained their strength and released 2011's "Carnival Is Forever", an album that saw Decapitated further develop their sound from the simple albeit excellent technical death metal that made them the legends that they are. This year the group returns with "Blood Mantra", their sixth studio album.

For a long time, Decapitated have been built around the trademark riffs of sole guitarist and main man Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka. Groovy, often quite chuggy in execution and void of the technical wankery that so many bands in the genre resort to, they're not what you expect from a 'technical' death metal band. This coupled with drums that rely on odd grooves rather than blastbeats have earned Decapitated the honour of having their very own unique sound. No album of theirs has sounded quite like its predecessor as new ways to utilise the Decapitated sound have appeared on each album. "Blood Mantra" is the first album that deviates from this rule; like "Carnival Is Forever", this album relies on odd grooves, Vogg's signature riffs, vocalist Rafał Piotrowski's harsh, shouty vocals and a progressive touch to keep the listener interesting.

If anything has changed at all, it's that "Blood Mantra" is less ambitious than Decapitated have sounded in a long time, if not ever. There are definitely things to like here, such as the groovy main riff in "Veins" and the long, progressive "Blindness" that shows Vogg from his dark and sinister side. But even the good parts have been heard done before and done better on another Decapitated album. It smells like the foul stench of stagnation, especially in songs like "Nest"; horribly uninspiring, it is entirely built up of simple riffs and doesn't go anywhere in its 6 minutes and 26 seconds of playtime. How songs like these even make it out of the rehearsal space is a mystery to me.

The thing is, there's practically nothing that impresses or surprises the listener throughout the entire album. It sounds too much like a simpler version of "Carnival Is Forever", one that fails in both evolving its sound or alternatively improving upon a working formula. The album still works in a predictable, sort of satisfying way, but it's too unimpressive to leave a lasting mark. Now, this is still Decapitated - masters of their craft with enough experience behind to run several hypothetical bands simoultaneously. Some of the spark seems to be missing on "Blood Mantra" though, because this is the first time they've ever disappointed in my book.


Download: Veins, Blood Mantra, Blindness
For The Fans Of: Vader, Cryptopsy, Meshuggah
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.09.2014
Nuclear Blast Records

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