Review: Decapitated “Organic Hallucinosis” [Earache Records]

Review: Decapitated “Organic Hallucinosis” [Earache Records]

- in Reviews
Rating 94%
Masterpiece of Dystopian brutality
94 %
User Rating : 0 (0 votes)

This is the defining moment Decapitated have been developing for all these years, each one of the previous albums laying the groundwork for a most daunting and towering edifice to come – the ultimate pinnacle. The earlier records pushed the boundaries of what modern tech-death could sound like, gradually cutting out any semblance of superfluous technical exuberance left and improving on the impact of the songs while focusing the energy, incrementally, further and further towards the point of complete climax. This is the ultimate objective, the end goal of the Decapitated project, where every honed strength from previous efforts comes together to reach the band’s elusive ideal (which most bands end up never accomplishing), revealing their purpose in full effect. The technically impeccable music was now serving a greater calling.

There’s plenty of alternating between the more technical and simpler passages that makes for a terribly fluid ensemble. For example on ‘Post-Organic’, they seamlessly go from shredding destruction to a slower power chord groove with gusto on the chorus. Then right into that dark trance-inducing section at the middle based on the root-note; very rare and shamelessly adventurous for death metal. It feels like every single riff on the record is absolutely deliberate; like the band have had ages to write and perfect the songs, then perfect them some more; and that it leaves nothing to artistic fate, and yet the creativity goes through the roof. The material is powerfully imaginative and thought-provoking, only as much as it is orderly and masterfully conducted. The hubristic fantasy and wonder of youth channeled through the structure and discipline of maturity – the best of both worlds. At no point does the music ever feel self-indulgent, or like the natural artistic momentum of the music has taken on a mind of its own straying away from the plot. Vogg and co. have control over the entirety of it with an iron fist.

There’s both more variation and tightness simultaneously in the song-writing than on the previous album (‘The Negation’). They’ll go for a giant ominous theme that’ll resonate with the listener, then steer hard right into full blast beat anarchy, after that maybe one of those powerful grooves with infectious simplicity and then chain that up with atmospheric lightly-distorted open string picking. They clearly look for song-writing cohesiveness first, and the music will certainly come across as (much) heavier and also as less technically impressive as it had been in the past. But besides it being a matter of taste, it’s really essentially a matter of appreciating the seasoned ripeness on display here.

The most important aspect on here though isn’t strictly musical: it’s the artistic direction the band have now taken the sound. This is undeniably the darkest the band had ever been; and have been to date; and it picks up right where ‘The Negation’ had left off. The first two records were unsure of what they were thematically, and the third had steered the ship towards a far more obscure area of the field. This is ‘The Negation’ on an acid trip, as it spirals way down to the deeper ends of Decapitated’s limits as a sound. It is simply cataclysmic, if one adjective were to ever summarize it. It takes the band’s intrinsic heaviness and turns it into outright brutality, to a point so extreme it is now bleak and dystopian in feel, if not with a certain penchant for a post-apocalyptic sentiment at its core. A glance at the album cover, alone, helps one understand what this might be about.

The album is interestingly named ‘Organic Hallucinosis’, and the band had not used any such semantics so far and had only given their albums grandiose names that rather pertained to philosophical movements and concepts. A younger man’s tendency to look outward at the world. The title alone here sets the tone with how much more personal and intimate the band means to be, and how the album is more introverted – compared to, say, the extroverted nearly euphoric tone of ‘Nihility’. Song titles keep bringing up that notion of personal introspection: ‘A Poem About an Old Prison Man’, ‘The Trip’, ‘Visual Delusion’, and the lyrics follow in describing an outside world seen through the subjective experience of a central ‘I’. A world that seems both fantasized and tangible, but terrifyingly real all the same. The parts that better depict this musically are the more atmospheric sections: mid-end parts on Track 1, the drony middle part on ‘Post-Organic’, the recurring instrumental part with stereo guitars trading off or the guitar picking towards the end of ‘Visual Delusion’. They help slow down the tempo and set an atmospheric and haunting obscurity, like an invitation to the listener to engage in their abyssal introspection process.

The instrumentalists all seem to be at the top of their craft: Vitek puts in one hell of a shift, full of solo-riffs on the drums, tons of impressive fills and often makes the drums go their own way rather than just being mere support for the guitars. And the blast beats – please pardon this next unacceptable pun, but they’re more like blast beasts. There, now that’s out of the way: Vogg shows a rich repertoire he hadn’t shown earlier and switches smoothly but also so very cleverly between all his deadly weapons. The power chords sound like a million Polish dollars, the tremolo riffing like two, and there’s such an abrasive contagious energy to everything this guy is playing it’s just an absolute delight. If you put “smooth” and “death metal” together, you’d get jazz with screaming. No that’s not it. Oh yeah: you’d get Vogg on this album. The bass just sounds gorgeous in the mix with a metallic grind adding to the industrial atmosphere, and tossing in that extra layer of chunky beef to the already massive guitar tone. There are interesting samples occasionally added here and there to add texture, and just like everything on here, it’s just tasteful and perfectly complements the whole.

The sound and production are more ripe, fuller, and arguably more intense than the previous ones as the bleak dystopian atmosphere that shrouds the whole album brings Decapitated to a new level, almost like the philosophical horror-film/adult version of the band and this quite honestly makes an album like their previous ‘Nihility’ sound like Barney the dinosaur. Well, maybe not Barney.
Despite its ambitious endeavor, the album manages to raise the song-writing quality up to new heights for both the band and death metal in its entirety. Seldom has an enterprise of such colossal magnitude ever achieved the full optimal breadth of its potential. This is the quasi flawless execution of the album as a project – its theory fully fleshed out and realized. It’s vivid, brutally intense, dark and unrelenting, and it does it during a half hour journey with an energy that recycles after every track and that never turns dull. Hats off. A masterpiece of its kind without a doubt. Not easy at all to do, and they nailed it. I’m not sure what else came out in 2006, but 2006 was a good year.

Release date: February 7th, 2006

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