Originally written by Jeremy Garner
Decapitated is a tank that has been on a path of unstoppable destruction since their first full length release The First Damned, pulverizing everything in their way with a refined attack of brutal technical Polish death metal. For those of you who have been secretly aching for Decapitated to pull an about face and return to form, this album should smash any hopes of such a move. Though Decapitated has always had the same core sound since their inception, each album is a different beast altogether; they’ve always pushed relentlessly forward to push the barriers of their skills. They’ve never been a band to give an inch for any reason. Though Organic Hallucinosis is an undeniable leap forward for the band, they’ve picked up a newfound almost experimental attitude to the compositions that add more dynamics and depth to the overall quality of the music. It’s comforting to see that they continue to create interesting music without straying from their credo of producing solidly brutal death metal.
The days of the rollicking, bang your head thrash oriented death metal of The First Damned is long gone from the forefront, but Decapitated still have a knack for writing good riffs that exhibit both technicality and brutality in equal doses. A lot of the rapid fire stop and go elements and unexpected tempo changes of Winds of Creation and to a lesser extent Nihility are back in full force with an unparalleled rancor. To me Nihility outside of namesake track “Nihility [Anti-human manifesto]” and “Spheres of Madness”, though a step up musically, was nothing but a soulless exercise in technical masturbation devoid of any staying songwriting that amounted to nothing but an exercise in look what I can do. For a while Decapitated seemed to have lost the intense ferocity that had impressed me so much on Winds of Creation. The Negation, while more about direct power through simplicity and compact technicality in small doses, was an album that while impressive as hell musically, for all of its power lacked a certain something. Whatever that something they had lacked was, they found it this time around. But enough with the editorial history lecture, it’s time to discuss what Decapitated is doing now.
The change from original vocalist Sauron to Covan was a bit of a surprise for me as I was so used to Sauron. However, I personally found Sauron’s vocals to be some of the most perpetually monotonous and boring growls across the death metal spectrum. Not to say either is better than the other, they’re just too stylistically different to compare adequately without making a jackass of myself. I have to admit that the swap reminds me heavily of the replacement of Lord Worm with Mike DiSalvo in Cryptopsy, but with time I’ve actually warmed up to Covan’s vocal style whereas Mike DiSalvo ruined it for me. It takes a while to get used to, but I was eventually able to appreciate the change and dynamic variety he adds to Decapitated. If Covan’s vocals ruin for you, tough shit. I can’t help if someone can’t look past the vocals as just another instrument to appreciate the music as a whole. I might be breaking some secrete death metal code here, but vocals aren’t everything in a band
Hertz Studio outdid themselves on the production of Organic Hallucinosis. All the instruments are prevalent (hell, I can even here Martin’s expertly executed bass rumbling away in the background), and are balanced in a tour de force wall of sound that envelopes the listener in the jackhammer styling of Decapitated. Vogg’s guitar tone might not be as thick as it was on The Negation, but the increased clarity and jaw-dropping precision of their staccato attack is welcome and breathtakingly intense.
Vitek’s thundering double bass work and layered, machine gun delivery is as good as ever. While most brutal death drummers run away on a relentless rampage of beating the hell out of the kit, Vitek pulls back when it suits the music and unleashes a whirlwind of tight drumming when it’s called for as to not overdo it all. The note for variety and when to double kick is a lost art in most modern death metal. As I’ve already mentioned, Covan has more of a throaty, hardcorish bark than the standard death metal growl that usually comes standard with this style of brutal death, but it’s refreshing to hear some variety in the brutal death metal community. Covan deviates occasionally from his standard punchy mids that pack one hell of a forceful punch to let out an impressively terrific high scream. But what makes Decapitated the power house they are, are the guitars. As per usual, the guitars are a flurry of violent, staccato riffs and aggressive brutality all glazed over with wickedly melodic leads.
“Poem About An Old Prison Man” kicks off the album in a fray of violence. Here, Decapitated initiates the stop and go rhythm changes that follow through with the rest of the songs like on “Flash B(l)ack” by altering from plain and simple in your face brutality to spiraling rhythmic technicality that’s easier to swallow than the virtuosity of a band like Necrophagist. My personal favorite “Day 69” besides featuring a hell of a drum solo and a great guitar solo, blasts like there’s no tomorrow, laying down nonstop brutal riff after brutal riff with one of the heaviest intros I’ve heard. “Revelation of Existence (The Trip)” is a bit more straightforward and less complex than the rest of the album, but still leaves the band plenty of room for unbridled aggression. On “Post Organic” Covan commandingly roars over dizzying leads and razor sharp rhythm guitar work; Decapitated even dares to be darkly melodic for a while before descending back into controlled chaos. “Visual Delusion” and “Invisible Control” are a bit different from the rest of the album as they include both thick and brutal rhythms but exhibit an almost experimental edge of progressive ingenuity that walks a different path than the rest of modern brutal death metal.
Organic Hallucinosis is the aural equivalent of nuclear fallout. By the time the album is over the listener feels as if they’ve taken the preverbal beating of a lifetime. This is a fucking behemoth of an album. Decapitated have raised the standards of technicality and brutality in the standard modern death metal genre without a moments faltering or hesitation. The determination displayed on Organic Hallucinosis knows no boundaries, this band is unstoppable. It’s no surprised Decapitated are mentioned in the same breath with Polish legends Vader and juggernauts Behemoth when the only shortcoming of the album is its relatively short length of seven songs. My advice: do yourself a favor, do whatever it takes to get this album and turn your stereo up as loud as it’ll go and blare this album; Decapitated are back with a friggin vengeance.