Released: 2011, Nuclear Blast
Amidst some of the higher profile tragedies that have befallen heavy metal over the past couple of years, it's easy to overlook just how harrowing a path Decapitated have had to walk to deliver CARNIVAL IS FOREVER. Chief amongst the obstacles that the prodigious Polish outfit had to overcome was of course the untimely passing of their drummer Witold "Vitek" Kieltyka - man whose talent was such that finding a comparable replacement would almost always have been nigh on impossible. If that wasn't enough, there was also the matter of Adrian "Covan" Kowanek, the man that had lent his formidable vocal chords to 2007's ORGANIC HALUCINOSIS, who was left comatose following the same car accident that had claimed Vitek's life.
Listening to CARNIVAL IS FOREVER with this tragic backdrop in mind, it's hard to ignore the emotive undercurrent which cuts a subtle swathe across record's eight tracks, peaking during the incredibly poignant, "Silence", with which they sign off. Which is not say that the record doesn't rain down hellfire and tarnation with a fervor only a very choice few of their peers can match. In fact, comparing opener, "The Knife", to just about any track off ORGANIC HALLUCINOSIS is akin to likening Deicide to Pantera. Both are heavy and aggressive, but there's an acerbic bite to CARNIVAL IS FOREVER that raises the stakes substantially, and yet this isn't a case of Decapitated jack-hammering their way through forty minutes worth of death metal either. There's a level of dynamism at work across the likes of "Homo Sum", "View From A Hole" and the simply epic title track that ensures the record will linger on in your subconscious long after you've moved on to something else.
In my mind, this is where CARNIVAL IS FOREVER really gets a leg up on every other release of its ilk so far this year. As I'm typing this, iTunes is suggesting that I'm on my thirtieth run-through of the record. The best thing about it? I'm not even close to getting my fill.