Review: Decapitated “The First Damned” [Nuclear Blast Records]

Review: Decapitated “The First Damned” [Nuclear Blast Records]

- in Reviews

Now let’s go back to Decapitated’s early days, with this new release of their two first demos.

The young band that they were at the time already shows some real talent at writing gloomy death metal songs and playing their instruments. While the drums sometimes sound a little “off”, either because they’re badly recorded and mixed, or because they’re a little off-key, the drummer can still play fast and heavy beats, and blast beats too, with a lot of skill. The guitars riffs are also heavy and complex, and played with a lot of skill, perfect for creating the dark and angry atmosphere of the album.

I’d describe the music as sounding like 80s-early 90s death metal, with the same dark, gritty and macabre mood, but I can also clearly hear the early stages of the more technical and complex style that Decapitated would take on their next albums. The songs feel big and threatening, with an evil, dark undertone.

Songs from the 1998 demo, which make up the first part of the album, are fast, aggressive numbers. There’s some really crushing stuff like Nine Steps, Eye of Horus or the absolutely thunderous title track and its wild, almost speed or thrash-like solo. Even Slayer’s Mandatory Suicide gets the evil death/thrash treatment.

Then we have a gloomy cover of Danse Macabre, which leads us to the 1997 demo and its more mystical, less heavy but incredibly fast style. After a strange keyboard and bells intro that sounds like it could be on a 90s’ gothic or black metal album, we start with the fast and melodic speed metal with growls of Destiny. The following tracks are also super-fast, with mythical and mystical lyrical themes and occasional gloomy keyboards. They combine a great energy with a slightly slower and sinister ending. Pretty interesting, memorable stuff.

This album is a nice collection of very heavy and evil tracks, or very energetic ones with interesting mythological themes. This is a very enjoyable album. A really impressive debut that many beginners would envy, that shows a lot of potential, some really cool ideas and a great instrumental talent. To people who are only starting to get into Decapitated, this would make a great first impression. This is a great way to know how this band started, and a pretty enjoyable record too.

Photo by Robert Zembrzycki

Release date: June 4, 2021

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