Decapitated

Organic Hallucinosis

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With the departure of their founding vocalist -- the heartwarmingly named Sauron -- the remaining members of Polish death metal veterans Decapitated have apparently decided to mark the installment of his successor, Covan, with a wholesale change of direction for their fourth studio album, Organic Hallucinosis. Launching off of their new frontman's more versatile skills in delivering various stages of deathly grunting, the band has stepped up the complexity of their songwriting to match, while establishing a non-traditional death metal aesthetic somewhere between the lopsided time signatures of Meshuggah and down-tuned power grooves of Pantera. And even though the exceedingly challenging results don't usually make for ideal moshpit conditions, intellectual onslaughts like "A Poem About an Old Prison Man," "Day 69" and "Flash-B(l)ack," do promise hours of gradual interpretation for those inclined towards thinking man's extreme metal. They also lack nothing in terms of intensity or brutality, only rarely exposing even the remotest traces of melody (see "Invisible Control") or turning down the volume for haunting, quieter passages ("Visual Delusion"). All of these new developments undoubtedly constrict the potential audience for a sound that's already likely to polarize longtime Decapitated fans, never mind try to seduce new ones; but one can't fault the band for trying, since it's not like they've managed to break out of the death metal underground with their previous works, anyway. And by limiting this album's running time to less than half an hour, it's almost as if Decapitated are intentionally giving their fans with a quick and relatively painless introduction to both their new membership and ambitions. Seems like a good strategy, if it works out in the long run.

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