Decapitated - Blood Mantra
Nuclear Blast
Death/Groove Metal
8 songs (46:09)
Release year: 2014
Decapitated, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

It's not unfair to say that Decapitated 2014 are a very different band to the one that first burst onto the death metal scene nearly fifteen years earlier with Winds of Creation. 2007's fatal bus crash that killed Vitek and severely injured Covan changed the band forever, moving further along the path that they started down with Organic Hallucinosis, and Blood Mantra does not deviate. With guitarist Vogg now the only original member of the band, joined again by Rafał Piotrowski's hoarse bellow and new members Paweł Pasek (bass) and Młody (drums), fan loyalty must now be firmly restricted to those who like the new direction, which isn't everyone. The faults evident with Carnival Is Forever are still present and correct – riffs are bursts of noise, the songwriting is still inferior to that of Organic Hallucinosis. There are even new faults, first and foremost some truly dreadful lyrics: 'Fuck for money! Fuck for name! Fuck for money! Fuck for fame!'

Yet Vogg is a talented man and there's a thoughtful style being exhibited here, with a greater emphasis on dark atmosphere than Carnival is Forever that makes Blood Mantra a slight improvement on that album, even with its faults. Opener Exiled in Flesh builds well, an ominous wall of riffing almost black metal before turning technical and grooving, fading into near-ambience in the song's outro. After that, first single The Blasphemous Psalm to the Dummy God Creation cranks up the groove, the riffs turning more modern and interacting more with the loud bass, with a great solo and an almost blackened turn to the song at the end. It's style over substance – the album is far better listened to as a whole than giving focus to individual songs, especially those like the title track which feel like the band treading water creatively, with some woefully dull riffs repeated for far too long.

The best songs come towards the end of the album, when the technical and atmospheric influences are let off the leash and songs like Nest remind you that Decapitated once pushed the envelope of the genre, riffs growing more impressive and focused and the songs adding up to something darker lurking behind the mosh-happy grooves. The aggression of Veins and Instinct, grooving thrash riffs assaulting your ears, is all well and good, but Blindness is both the best track on the album and the biggest disappointment. Over seven minutes long, it builds up in rumbling menace like a restrained Meshuggah, constantly at the verge of boiling over but coming back from the brink again and again, before letting you down without the expected explosion of rage as it slips quietly into ambient noise outro Red Sun. A raging blaster of a track that focused the grooving aggression, even from a changed tracklisting, would have been very effective, and capped the album off nicely – instead the listener is let down. But the flaws can't stop this from being a good, nearly great album; the combination of influences is coming together nicely, and given songs that wield their strengths with more cunning, this new form of Decapitated will truly live up to the name.

Killing Songs :
Exiled in Flesh, Veins, Nest, Instinct, Blindness
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Decapitated that we have reviewed:
Decapitated - Carnival Is Forever reviewed by Goat and quoted 79 / 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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