Among the many bands synonymous with guttural and brutal music, Decapitated would take the head. Being a band that musically never disappoints, the band’s latest offering ‘Cancer Culture’ is a work of excellence second to none. This is a record whose intensity is magnified by clarity thanks to stellar production coupled with virtuous musicianship. Here we have a record that absolutely knows what delivers listening pleasure.
The record opens with a short instrumental bit “From The Nothingness With Love” that sets a nice atmosphere before jumping right into the title track “Cancer Culture”. The title track is stellar. A crown jewel among title tracks. Speed, smashing intensity driven by astonishing poise, and clarity make this track a joy. Of course, this sets the bar exceptionally high for the rest of the record. Within a beat, the album is off to a blast of a time. “Just A Cigarette” and “No Cure” are vastly moody and smashing tracks. The atmospheres created by the guitars go beyond simply speedy riffs and ambiances. The clever arrangements to use harness the confines of familiar musical brutalism in extreme metal are so brilliantly articulated by guitars with the rest of the band following suit. The soundscapes irrespective of how much is going on are beautiful.
“Hello Death” features the stunning Tatiana Shmayluk of Jinger on vocals. Her mesmerizing performance on this lovely track in the midst of the groovy syncopation makes up for something brilliantly astounding. “Iconoclast” and “Suicide Space Programme” have a slightly different vibe to them compared to the album so far. The suspense-building musical arrangements, singing guitar harmonies, and almost warm-like openings kind of take away the listener’s attention from the moody ambiances. Of course, nothing lacks in madness. “Locked” is actually a fun track to listen to. The harsh guitar tones, the crushing drums, and massive (at times theatrical-filled) vocal performances are fun. This song ends at an absolute high point.
The admirable moody vibes that Decapitated is loved for making a return with “Hours as Battlegrounds”. The impressive drum work on this track is legitimately inspiring and sounds like an exhaustive workout. While across the spectrum of heavy and extreme metal music, drum performances are mighty thorough and inspiring. However, on this track, the drums constitute an actual motif in the music-making it remarkably memorable and enjoyable. This will be a recognizable tune for the ages. The album ends with “Last Supper”. “Last Supper” opens with a very Thrash Metal-esque that is very reminiscent of a timeless band like Slayer. The song is easily one of the high points on this record. Massive, driven, and worth quite a beating. The riff runs are tasty and brilliantly executed. The guitar solos add in one last moody atmosphere before the extremities drop again to close this well-thought-out record.
‘Cancer Culture’ by Decapitated is a fine example of how well thought out the extreme metal can be. Of course, just like any take on extreme metal, this record comes with everything we love – blast beats, menacing riffs, thick low ends, and brutal vocal performances. What makes our senses beholden to ‘Cancer Culture’ is the fine excellence and musical maturity in the songwriting, composition, arrangement, and production. The intent to be meticulous is heard. This is admirable. One does not hear a moment of doing something for the sake of doing something. Extreme music for its own sake is wonderfully amiss here. The intent is admirable. I think this makes Decapitated and especially the band’s newest offering ‘Cancer Culture’ a learning lesson for many aspiring metal musicians.
The production is on point. The tones, the sonic space, the mix, and everything in middle till the end are well executed. I mean, you can hear it. At times one might feel that the pace at which the intensity hits drops. At least this could be contrary to how one might an extreme metal album spontaneously. Still, to each their own.
‘Cancer Culture’ by Decapitated is remarkably sound and well put together. A metal essential for 2022.