The Negation

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In the mid-'90s, bands like Nile, Cryptopsy, and Krisiun were stepping up to resuscitate the slumping death metal genre. Decapitated are part of the next generation of bands -- they were born around the time Morbid Angel and Death were recording their first demo tapes and in their early teens by the mid-'90s. For them, death metal has always been around, and they seem to live and breathe it. The downside is that they're content to work with the already established foundations laid down by earlier death metal bands. The upside, which more than compensates here, is that they've obviously done their homework, plus they have a youthful spark that is missing in their older peers. On The Negation, they cover all the death metal bases -- powerful, blastbeat-filled drumming, dissonant yet memorable guitar riffs, and inventive guitar solos. Check out "Lying and Weak" and the title track for a couple of especially good examples. On top of all this, the production is far better than on most of the big-name death metal albums released in the early 2000s. It's clear and full sounding, yet without being overly slick or digitally sanitized. An all-around quality release from one of the best straight-ahead death metal bands going circa 2004.

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