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Decapitated: Cancer Culture

When Death Metal was beginning to stagnate somewhat at the turn of the century one band stood out from the crowd and reminded us all that the genre wasn’t only not dying but was still brimming with life and vibrancy. That band of course was the Polish powerhouse Decapitated and that album released in 2000 was the drop dead classic debut album Winds Of Creation. The guys were not done there though. Bringing forth an extremely high level of proficiency Decapitated continued to release three more outstanding albums in 2002’s Nihility which is still a fan favorite to many and is pure perfected insanity, 2004’s The Negation which continued the technical perfection blended with true Death Metal power and ferocity, and finally 2006’s Organic Hallucinosis which divided some fans at the time but now is also widely regarded as a classic. Unfortunately while touring Organic Hallucinosis their tour bus collided with an oncoming truck hauling wood. This incident would leave singer Adrian "Covan" Kowanek in a coma and see their amazing drummer Witold "Vitek" Kietyka lose his life a few days later due to his injuries. This was obviously a huge blow to the band and especially Vitek’s brother and primary songwriter and guitarist Wacaw "Vogg" Kietyka.

After a few years recording and touring with fellow Poles Vader for their Necropolis album, Vogg put the word out to recruit new members to restart Decapitated once again. With Covan still enduring a very slow recovery, and unable to rejoin, a whole new line-up was assembled. In mid-2009 Vogg stated: "It has been the hardest thing for me to move on without Vitek by my side, but he would have wanted me to continue with the band. Finally, I have found some great musicians who can continue the work of Vitek and Covan. There's no sense in stopping this amazing thing we built up so many years ago together with Vitek, Sauron, Martin and Covan."

The New line-up returned in 2011 with Carnival is Forever and followed up with Blood Mantra in 2014 and 2017’s Anticult. While the band was still unarguably technical Death Metal, the overall sound and feel of the band had changed somewhat. Incorporating a little more diversity into the compositions while at times not being quite as intricate. During the Anticult tour Decapitated once again faced a terrible ordeal in the form of false accusations of rape while on tour in California. After the band's arrest and more evidence coming to light thankfully the band was cleared and all charges were dropped. This along with surviving another bus crash and a plane crash makes Decapitated one of the most unstoppable bands in all metal. It's simply amazing that with all that they’ve managed to survive it all and prosper creatively.

That brings us up to date with their latest offering, the aptly titled Cancer Culture. Here we see Decapitated at their most diverse yet. Cancer Culture preserves their legacy of technical prowess while also adding large doses of melody, rhythmic diversity and dissonance, all flavored with their trademark groove. They open with Militaristic drumming and ominous sounding guitars on "From the Nothingness with Love" before exploding into the title track and it's glorious. Loaded with groove and aggression but also allowing the softer moments to open up and breath before returning to the onslaught. It’s done with total control and expertise. “Just a Cigarette” follows and mixes dissonance, melody and emotion seamlessly. Another standout.

Another interesting feature of Cancer Culture is the two guest appearances. Firstly on the fantastic song “Hello Death” they have Tatiana Shmailyuk from the band JInjer providing some very nice clean vocals that float above Vogg’s crazy intricate riffing creating a wonderful juxtaposition. This is quite unexpected on a Decapitated album and some might see it as a sell out or some such nonsense but personally I think as always they handle it perfectly. Next they also brought in Machine Head’s very own Robb Flynn to add clean vocals to the equally excellent “Iconoclast”. A straight for the jugular grooving death metal track that also explores some goosebump inducing moodiness with Robb’s clean singing. Every song on Cancer Culture is fantastic but other standouts are the insanity unleashed of “Locked” and the unusual coolness of “Hours As Battlegrounds”.

Everything on Cancer Culture sounds fantastic too. Huge yet well defined production sounds serve to highlight Vogg’s fantastic and unique riffing and creative soloing. The Drumming from James Stewart is fantastic and I think Vitek would be proud. Rafa�' "Rasta" Piotrowski once again does a great job delivering the growls with precision and perfect placement.

As a huge fan of their first run of albums with Vitek I never fully warmed to the newer albums as much, however listening to Cancer Culture has reawakened my love for Decapitated. I think it’s the best of their new era albums and I love every pulverizing second of it. There’s enough of their familiar classic technical bludgeoning there while also bringing a freshness to the table and integrating it masterfully by a band at the peak of their compositional powers. Highly recommended.

Rafa "Rasta" Piotrowski- vocals
Wacaw "Vogg" Kietyka- guitars
James Stewart- drums
Pawe�' Pasek - bass

Track Listing
1. "From the Nothingness with Love" 1:16
2. "Cancer Culture" 4:08
3. "Just a Cigarette" 3:57
4. "No Cure" 3:26
5. "Hello Death" (feat. Tatiana Shmailyuk of Jinjer) 4:54
6. "Iconoclast" (feat. Robb Flynn of Machine Head) 4:49
7. "Suicidal Space Programme" 4:58
8. "Locked" 1:16
9. "Hours as Battlegrounds" 3:58
10. "Last Supper" 4:22
Total length: 37:12

Added: September 24th 2022
Reviewer: Benjamin Dudai
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 479
Language: english

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