Decapitated - Carnival Is Forever
Nuclear Blast
Technical Death Metal, Deathcore
8 songs (42:33)
Release year: 2011
Decapitated, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

This album, to all intents and purposes, should not exist. In late 2007 Decapitated’s tour bus crash that claimed the life of Witold "Vitek" Kiełtyka and put Adrian “Covan” Kowanek into a coma ended the band until it was restarted in 2009, and the reaction of many to Carnival Is Forever suggests that they think the band should have stayed dormant. It may take a while and a good many listens to realise it, but they’re wrong. Carnival Is Forever is a good album, enhanced by the skills of new members Kerim "Krimh" Lechner on drums, Rafał Piotrowski on vocals and Filip "Heinrich" Hałucha on bass. It’s a new band to that which recorded Organic Hallucinosis in most ways, and yet Carnival Is Forever is quite clearly a continuance of that style – deep throaty bellows, groove-ridden riffs, drums a constantly-shifting tapestry of percussive delight.

So, more of the same, if not the same? Almost, the guitars being groovier, less varied and indulging not so much in riffs as in bursts of noise, something quite audible in being influenced by Meshuggah from moments like the thrashy intro to Homo Sum and the general polyrhythmic assault. Although you’d have to be inhuman not to think that certain moments are reminiscent of (gulp!) Emmure on early listens, given time these thoughts fade and eventually vanish. The changes are ultimately not as awful as the accusations flying around; anyone who listens to this and thinks it sounds like Slipknot has clearly not listened to the masked mentalists in a while! Yet make no mistake, those old-school types who long for a return to the pre-Nihility days are going to be very disappointed, as old-schoolers often are.

Have faith in Decapitated, however, if you did enjoy Organic Hallucinosis as a forward-thinking example of technical death looking for new territory to conquer rather than reclaiming already-owned ground. Carnival Is Forever steps backwards in songwriting terms (its predecessor is still a much more fun listen) but forward in its approach to noise as weapon, 404 especially noteworthy as a track that gets about the business of sonic violence as technically and competently as possible without losing its catchy groove, complete with a cascading guitar solo that leads the band straight into your heart. Part of the fun is in simply having the band wash over you, the melodic intro to A View From A Hole building up wonderfully before the furious assault shortly after, whilst grumpy stomp-a-thons like Pest mix rhythm and lead instruments to create depth-charge neck-exercisers like few others.

Proggy in many ways, this is an all-encompassing attack that’s more interesting to listen to than many a modern death metal band who make no attempt to have an identity of their own. Of course, whether Decapitated can now be deemed death metal at all is an argument that many will have – for me, the music here is very close to the mixture of death metal and hardcore so commonly referred to as deathcore, from the breakdowns to the guitar riffs themselves. That’s not a bad thing in and of itself, but it is certainly worth highlighting to show how the changes in Decapitated’s sound have resulted. It’s not a sell-out, it’s another step on an interesting journey that has seem more tragedy than triumph to date. In the end, those with ears will note that Carnival Is Forever has the same uniform, all-too-brief attack that all of the band’s albums have drawn strength from, and whilst the tools of the trade may have changed, the results are much the same. Decapitated is dead; long live Decapitated.

Killing Songs :
The Knife, Carnival Is Forever, Homo Sum, 404, A View From A Hole
Goat quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Decapitated that we have reviewed:
Decapitated - Blood Mantra reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Decapitated - Organic Hallucinosis reviewed by Dylan and quoted 87 / 100
Decapitated - Nihility reviewed by Jay and quoted 80 / 100
Decapitated - Winds Of Creation reviewed by Crims and quoted 85 / 100
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