Carnival Is Forever

01. The Knife
02. United
03. Carnival Is Forever
04. Homo Sum
05. 404
06. A View From A Hole
07. Pest
08. Silence

[Nuclear Blast Records]

No one ever said being in a death metal band would be easy, but no one should ever have to go through the horrific incident that Decapitated experienced back in 2007. It’s a story we’ve heard way too many times before — the tragic tour bus accident. However, this time the consequences were dire, leaving vocalist Covan in a serious condition that he still hasn’t fully recovered from and claiming the life of drummer Vitek at the tender age of 23. After taking some time out with a brief stint in Vader, guitarist Vogg began to build the band up from the ground again.

Carnival Is Forever represents the fruits of all that labour. Backed by an entirely new line up of essentially unknowns, this album could have gone either way, but you will be pleased to know that Decapitated are back.

In the face of adversity, Carnival Is Forever is a very smooth and natural progression from Organic Hallucinosis. There are a few new influences creeping into the mix, but all in all it’s a straight forward death metal record with smatterings of tech moments — exactly what we’ve come to want and expect from Decapitated.

The Knife” is by far one of the best opening tracks I’ve heard all year; not only for its huge razor-wire riffs and mind bending solo, but also for the ‘first impression’ factor. It has all the hallmarks of a quintessential Decapitated song; barbaric drumming, inhumane vocals, and chugging riffs that bring to mind Hate Eternal and Morbid Angel rather than any trite deathcore style playing. Admittedly I was a little wary about how Carnival Is Forever would sound — as I’m sure many others are — but on my first play through of the record, I was completely blindsided by the intensity produced on “The Knife” that I literally had stop everything else I was doing and just listen intently.

Other highlights include the ridiculously brutal “Pest” and the truly adventurous eight minute title track which covers a lot of ground, including sullen acoustic guitar and swaggering riffs that bring to mind the classic “Spheres Of Madness“. While it does rely on only a few different sections, the effect isn’t that of a repetitive and unimaginative piece but rather a slowly morphing juggernaut of a track that is one of the most memorable on the album. ‘404‘ also stands out due to its unashamed Meshuggah-esque main riff placed alongside sections that wouldn’t feel out of place on Winds Of Creation or Nihility. It certainly helps that vocalist Rafal Piotrowski does his best Jens Kidman impression.

I don’t even feel like I should be picking favourites with Carnival Is Forever as there aren’t really any missteps; even the soothing acoustic guitar piece “Silence” feels like a  necessary calm after the storm. Each meticulously placed piece in this puzzle works in conjunction with each other to make album that does justice to the legacy of both Covan and Vitek beautifully. It may have a dodgy title and some unfortunate artwork, but the music that lies within is some of the best death metal I’ve heard in a long time. Morbid Angel, take note; THIS is how you make a comeback.

Decapitated’s Carnival Is Forever gets:


– DL


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