With age comes a certain degree of perspective. The things that once mattered so much seem to slip away and other things, more real things, some would say more “adult” things are put in their place. With art, and with music especially, a desire to fulfill a need for artistic expression tends to replace the youthful need for recognition and attention. Countless artists in countless interviews have expressed such a change in themselves.
In a recent interview, Decapitated guitarist Wacław ‘Vogg’ Kiełtyka said that he “doesn’t feel the need to show off any more”. That kind of artistic maturity is all over Anticult. Don’t be mistaken for thinking that means this album is any less well-crafted than you would expect to find on a Decapitated album. But what it does mean is that Anticult is an album that only a band this well-seasoned in their craft could make.
Songs like ‘Earth Scar’ and ‘Never’, the two first tracks to be released from the album are perfect encapsulations of what Decapitated are about now. Huge, thundering slabs of grinding death metal that sounds like someone has balanced a breeze block on your head and is drilling through it. Hubert Wiecek’s bass tone is like a chainsaw trying to eat through a scaffolding bar, and vocalist Rafał ‘Rasta’ Piotrowski’s screams vary from deep barks to the occasional pained howl, managing to find that ever-elusive balance of brutality and melody.
Anticult’s reaches its high point with ‘Kill This Cult’. It’s a visceral, monstrous, absolute banger that is distressingly heavy but also has a chorus that’s memorable and catchy. Everything that’s great about bands like Lamb Of God and DevilDriver at their very best is in ‘Kill This Cult’, and though the guitar riffs are slower than some that Decapitated have done in the past, the thousand-mile-an-hour kick drum (courtesy of Michał Łysejko) that propels the chorus along makes ‘Kill This Cult’ a headbang anthem for the ages.
At only eight tracks and around 40 minutes long, Anticult makes sure to deliver everything it needs to, whilst not overstaying its welcome. If it had been any longer or shorter it would not be as good as it is. This length allows for repeated successive listens (which is very easy to get sucked into with this record) which in turn allows for all the melodic additions and atmospheric brilliance that Vogg has subtly added in to become apparent.
This, then, is what we can expect from Decapitated. A perfectly-timed, perfectly performed atom bomb of a death metal record, with enough variation in tone and musical elements that each song is capable of standing on its own, but not so much so that the album feels disjointed. This is the kind of album that heavy bands that have been around for as long as Decapitated should be making.
Vogg may not feel the need to show off any more, but by just writing what he wanted to, he and his friends have made an album that puts most metal albums released this year to shame.