Decapitated – ‘Anticult’

By Dave Bull

‘Anticult’ opens as you would expect a Decapitated record to open – with a haunting lick and the promise of a tirade of punishment. But the subsequent stylisation and effects pedals used show a new direction for one of extreme metal’s greatest ever bands. The build up to the drop and guitar mastery gives way to a much punchier, generic riff than previous albums have been famous for, and the vocal direction is sightly less abrasive than previous albums have portrayed. The return to the riff-tastic guitar confirms that the metamorphosis is one towards the less extremes in nearly every sense. The more mellow interlude gives way to a searing solo which will have old-skool fans sigh with relief that not all has been lost from what they held so dear.

‘Kill The Cult’ is by far the stand out track on the album that showcases their newer sound, the opening riff as punishing as it is catchy, and whist the spoken word verse is the song’s weakest moment, the chorus of “kill this cult, cult of lies” is one of the choruses of the year (yes this is a thing!). The drum parts are just as fast and unrelenting as they ever were, and the new and incredibly entertaining licks are commendably ferocious and intricate, but there is a softening to the overall tone of this album, and it may not please their die hard fans of the ‘Winds of Creation’ and ‘Nihility’ days.

‘One Eyed Nation’ is a return to a heavier sound once deployed by Decapitated and is the best overall track, simply due to the fact that it is as punishing as you will find on this release. The scream within the chorus is breathtaking and sounds akin to those high pitched squeals that Danny Filth of Cradle of Filth does so well, whilst ‘Anger Lines’ portrays the new effects in full, the guitar twisting round your conscience before the vocal repeats of ‘closer than ever, closer to kill’ bring the curtains down as the insanity is pumped to pressure point.

‘Earth Scar’ is the perfect example of their change in direction. The riff is much more upbeat and the overlaid bass is almost relaxed in temperament. The big change is the vocoder-esque mic used on ‘Rasta’s vocals. The effect is much more mainstream metal than this band have ever been known for before and will sound rather out of place in a set of their classics from the early noughties.

‘Never’ starts with some smokey trickles from the guitar before a ‘hardcore’ style drum breakdown brings the verse to its most punishing, but it can’t be overlooked that the quality seems to have dipped from previous tracks, and indeed albums.

Mediocre is not a word to use lightly with any Decapitated release because they are usually incredible in terms of technicality and overall songmanship. However, ‘Anticult’ is just that – it has moments of brilliance and those which are better forgotten. If we were evaluating the career of the band, then they would no doubt be deemed one of technical death metal’s greatest of all time, but we’re not. Progression should obviously be celebrated but there aren’t enough truly great moments in ‘Anticult’, and it feels very much like this album will disappear into their back catalogue alongside some of the genres truly groundbreaking material that they have previously created.

DAVE BULL

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